The annual announcement of the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is upon us. This American whiskey, released each year in honor of this brand’s founder George Garvin Brown, showcases the premium side of Old Forester. For this year we have an added twist in that the 2018 offering is the highest proof to date to be released for this series.
The Old Forester 2018 Birthday Bourbon, according to those behind it, was selected from a single day of production and “handcrafted by Master Distiller Chris Morris and Master Taster Jackie Zykan.” This is typical for this bottling, with the draw this time around heralding from
120 barrels, distilled on June 9, 2006…they were drawn from two locations: 93 barrels matured together on the 3rd floor on the northwest side of Warehouse J; the remaining 27 barrels matured together on the 3rd floor, northwest side of Warehouse I. The angels opted for a hearty share of 2018 Birthday Bourbon – the total yield was just 39 percent and five barrels were found to be totally empty.
Of significant note for this release is the fact it is being offered at 101 proof, which is the strongest it has ever been released at. Also it is the first iteration to be bottled at the new Old Forester Distilling Co., located in Louisville’s historic Whiskey Row – in the same space that Old Forester called home before Prohibition.
“I find this year’s expression,” said Zykan in a prepared statement, “to possess a flavor profile perfectly aligned with the time of year in which it is released – days are subtly shortening, and we find ourselves indulging on the last remnants summer has to offer, all the while longing for the upcoming autumn transition – like a late summer evening at a lake house, enjoying a cherry cobbler, speckled with crunchy toasted almonds, still perfectly residually warm from the oven; sipping a tepid hot toddy, lemon wheel lazily floating in the mug as the stars begin to present themselves across the falling night sky.”
Old Forester 2018 Birthday Bourbon is set for release at the beginning of September, with approximately 14,400 bottles hitting retail nationwide for around $100 each. You’ll find more official tasting notes for this mahogany colored whiskey below.
- Nose: Singularly focused initially, with a pronounced rich dark cherry cobbler note; opens into a dynamic build of caramel and dark chocolate covered smoked almond nuttiness with hints of charred oak; a touch of herbal lemon tea, sweetened with a touch of honey rounds out its depth of character
- Taste: Subtle sweetness blossoms into a warm and green spiced multi-dimensional experience, brightened by a lemon honey note followed by cherry cobbler
- Finish: Long and drying, with an herbal lemon honey sweetness
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...