Tasted: Neat in a glencairn glass
As one of the few distilleries allowed to remain operational during Prohibition, Old Forester is celebrating this part of its history with its Whiskey Row series. Over the last two years, Old Forester has released the 1870 Original Batch (90 proof), 1897 Bottled-In-Bond (100 proof), and the 1920 Prohibition Style (115 proof). These are deviations made by master distiller Chris Morris based on recipes and techniques from the pages of history.
According to the distillery, “The 115 proof expression represents a barrel sample that company president Owsley Brown would have batched at the beginning of Prohibition”.
Nose: Nice complex nose with an interesting balance of sweetness and spice. I get rye spice, mint, cherries, brown sugar, red apple, and toffee.
Palate: Upon entry, the first thing you notice is the extremely rich mouthfeel that coats the tongue. The palate is very similar to the nose with the balance of sweet and spice. Again with the rye spice and mint, followed up with loads of cherry and toffee. The best way I can describe it is like a cherry Jolly Rancher with spice. Also, it doesn’t taste like an 115 proof bourbon. It is round and balanced. If I tasted this blind I would have guessed the proof to be around 100 to 105.
Finish: Long. Cherries, rye spice, mint, toasted marshmallow, and brown sugar.
Grade: 90 – 92 (A-) = Excellent, Want to buy a case
I was impressed with the Old Forester 1920. There is a lot of hype around this bottle in the bourbon community and I have to agree that it is warranted. Not often do you find a bottle for $60 with this proof, complexity, and thick mouthfeel. I will say though, I still prefer the Rebel Yell 10 Year over the Old Forester 1920. Both great pours that are undoubtedly one of the best releases of 2016. The Rebel Yell 10 Year just hits my flavor preferences more with its rich oaky sweetness. While the Old Forester 1920 has that spicy sweet profile that for sure has more complexity and a better mouthfeel. Bottom line. If you see a bottle of either, buy!
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