Old Forester 2016 Birthday Bourbon Announced

| August 15, 2016

As we draw towards the latter part of summer, bourbon collectors begin to watch the clock closely as they plot out how to get hold of the usual mix of highly sough- after releases from Kentucky. The annual Old Forester Birthday Bourbon expression tends to be one of those. To help you get excited, Old Forester has announced the 2016 edition of this offering.

The Old Forester 2016 Birthday Bourbon, according to the distillery, is the 15th anniversary release, making it all the more special as a result. A further part of this specialness is the fact that it was jointly developed by by Brown-Forman master distiller Chris Morris and Old Forester “Master Bourbon Specialist” Jackie Zykan. This year marks Zykan’s first involvement with the Birthday Bourbon release since joining the brand last year.

Old Forester 2016 Birthday Bourbon

It is that time… (image via Brown-Forman)

Specifics of the 2016 version, bottled at 97 proof, are as follows from Old Forester:

Each barrel in the Birthday Bourbon selections annually are drawn from the same day of production, this year’s on June 4, 2004, leading to the ‘vintage-dated’ reference. The 2016 release of 93 barrels uniquely matured together on the 5th floor of Warehouse K at the Brown-Forman Distillery in Louisville, KY. The lot was positioned near a window facing west allowing them to be sun kissed, yielding a deeper oak mouthfeel. This warm location provides this year’s release with a deep, rich, oak forward personality.

As has been the case with previous releases, this bottling is housed in a unique decanter-style glass as tribute to the late 1800’s when Old Forester was first produced. It will be available starting next month in limited numbers – 14,400 bottles nationwide – for a price of around $80. Official tasting notes for it are at the end of this story from both Zykan and Morris.

Old Forester 2016 Birthday Bourbon

Morris and Zykan proof the bourbon in the lab (image via Brown-Forman)

“In 2002, when we first introduced Birthday Bourbon, the market for premium Bourbons was almost nonexistent; Birthday Bourbon represented a ‘first’ in this category.  But 15 years later, global interest for premium Bourbons and well-crafted whiskeys is at a record high,” said Morris in a prepared statement. “We’re proud to have been a part of this story – not just over the last 15 years, but since George Garvin Brown founded America’s First Bottled Bourbon in 1870.”

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Tasting Notes from Zykan

It starts off as soft butterscotch with candied orange peel. It transitions into a creamy vanilla in the middle and finishes with subtle anise and moderate spice. It’s like eating black jelly beans in the middle of an orange grove.

Tasting Notes from Morris

Deep reddish umber
Complex and cinnamon wood spiced with nutty chocolate, dark caramel and rich oak notes all brightened with a dash of crisp citrus fruit.

Mulled spice sweetness and fruity with bright citrus peel highlights.

Long and warm with mulled fruit character lingering on.


Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...