Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2016

For the 15th year in a row, Brown-Forman released its Old Forester Birthday Bourbon to commemorate founder George Garvin Brown's September 2nd birthday. We previously reviewed the 2014 and 2015 "Birthday" bourbons and enjoyed them immensely. 

As always (with the exception of 2004), the Birthday bourbon represents one day of production twelve years earlier. The 2016 release features a 72% corn, 18% rye, 10% malted barley mash bill and was aged near windows on the 5th floor of a west facing warehouse. For why proximity to windows and exposure to sunlight matters, we recommend Chuck Cowdery's article from last month.

At $80 MSRP, the 2016 OFBB is the most expensive ever released, and at 93 total barrels, it's the largest release ever (14,400 bottles). 

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2016

97 proof
$85 at Liquor Barn in Lexington, KY

Color: Dark, rich copper with glints of crimson red.

Nose: Loads of wet oak, nail polish, and freshly oiled leather. Hints of burnt brown sugar and lemon zest balance out an otherwise harsh aroma. 

Tasting Notes: Plenty of bold oak and black pepper up front. Subtle notes of cinnamon and rye spice tease the tongue, but they disappear into a spicy, somewhat medicinal finish. 

Overall: C. For an $80, highly anticipated bourbon, I am disappointed. I found the 2014 and 2015 editions to be far superior to this year's release. Still, it's complex, unique, and comes packaged in the best bottle on the market. We look forward to hunting down OFBB '17 next autumn.