Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (2015)

George Garvin Brown was a Kentucky pharmaceutical salesman who began bottling whiskey in 1870- a very rare practice at the time- in an effort to ensure the quality of his product. The distillery that bears his name today, Brown-Forman, produces Old Forester, an unpleasant, 86 proof bottom-shelfer, Old Forester Signature, a smoother 100 proofer, a group of bourbons known as the "Whiskey Row Series" which includes Old Forester 1870 Original Batch, a Single Barrel release, and a Mint Julep flavored bourbon. 

Each September, to commemorate Brown's birthday, Brown-Forman releases a 12-year-old bourbon distilled on a single day of production. The Old Forester Birthday Bourbon line has been around since 2002, and some releases have wowed the world (e.g. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013) while some have been met with less enthusiasm.

We've previously reviewed the 2014 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, one of the most delicious bourbons we've ever sipped. Unable to find a 2014 bottle in the wild, we helped finish bottles for "Bourbon" (Columbia, SC) and Jack Rose (DC).  

The 2015 Birthday Bourbon barrels were aged in a single Brown-Forman warehouse near a window and a heat cycling duct. As a result, it was exposed to higher than normal temperatures and took on a deep, woody aroma and flavor.

Thanks to our sister in KY, we snagged a bottle of the 2015 release. She stopped in at Liquor Barn so many times, she earned the nickname "Birthday Bourbon Girl."  A small price to pay for amazing whiskey.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (2015)

100 proof
$79 at Liquor Barn in Lexington, KY

Color: Medium amber.

Nose: Delicious, but on the sharp side. Lacquered wood, pine tar, orange peel, rum cake, molasses, brown sugar. A complex interplay of astringent alcohol and wood sugars.

Tasting Notes: Dark fruits, bananas foster, caramel, barrel char, and cinnamon spice.  It's very dry and a bit thin, but the flavors are intense.

Overall: A-. OFBB '15 is not as delicious as OFBB '14, but it's good drinking. The oak influence is very pronounced in the nose and the flavor, but in a memorable way.