Tasted: Neat in a glencairn glass
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is a once a year celebration of founder Garvin Brown’s birthday. The batch is always made from a single day’s production on his birthday. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Brown-Forman’s Old Forester’s Birthday Bourbon. More information about this year’s bottling from the distillery:
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.
An interesting note/variation between releases. The 2016 release was bottled at 97 proof, while the 2015 was bottled at 100 proof. Lets she how she tastes……….
Nose: Rich caramel, old oak, corn, pecans, and cinnamon. Not to get too crazy on the notes, but this smells like a warm cola (we call it pop in the Midwest) that was poured into a glass.
Palate: A nice mouthfeel. Rich caramel again that coats the mouth. Fresh oak that is slightly dry, but no bitter oak tannins. Cherries. Touch of vanilla. Leather.
Finish: Long and warm. Baking spice. Heavy crushed cherries. Chocolate.
Grade: 90 – 92 (A-) = Excellent, Want to buy a case
Like I wrote in my review of the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2015, my first experience with this bottling was the 2014 release and I wasn’t a fan. On the palate there was a bitter/dry oak tannin note that completely turned me off. So much so I didn’t hunt for a bottle in 2015. I did however receive a sample of the 2015 release (hence my previous review) and enjoyed it.
This year I was lucky enough to get a chance to purchase the 2016 release and decided to give the bottle another shot based on my positive experience with the 2015 release. I’m happy I made the purchase and will be actively looking for more. I’m not sure what changed from 2014 to 2016, but I get no bitter oak tannins at all anymore. Maybe my palate has changed? Maybe the recent releases are considerably better batches? I’m not sure, but I’m really digging the 2016 release. It is a rich, sweet bourbon with a good balance of oak that hits a lot of the right cords for me. Cheers!