Every September, Old Forester, the first bottled bourbon whiskey, releases a special expression known as Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. Created in honor of George Garvin Brown, the founder of Old Forester and its parent company Brown Forman, this limited expression small-batch bourbon is always a hit among bourbon enthusiasts. This year’s expression of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, a 12-year-old offering made on one day during the distilling season with an additional two percent extra malt added into the fermenter, is a classic bourbon whiskey and perhaps the best Old Forester Birthday Bourbon yet.
One interesting thing to note about Old Forester is that it is the only bourbon whiskey still in existence that was produced before, during, and after Prohibition by its original producer. That is no small feat, especially given the challenges immediately following after Prohibition, as well as the consolidation in the spirits industry in the 1970s and 1980s. This year’s release of Birthday Bourbon was handcrafted by Master Distiller Chris Morris, using an 82 barrel batch.
“Once barreled, the bourbon was ricked on the fourth floor in warehouses J and I, where it experienced a balanced maturation environment. There the angels’ share resulted in low barrel yields and therefore, intense barrel flavor concentration,” says Morris.
Big oak notes, cinnamon, and apple pie spice notes abound on the bouquet, while the palate reveals notes of almond, toasted oak, vanilla, and cinnamon before providing a long, lingering, and satisfying finish.
“The 2012 Birthday Bourbon expression is full of ripe fruit character with oak sweetness, warming spices and almond nutiness,” says Morris. “A rich aroma and a long, warm finish make this yet another must-have release”.
At an MSRP of $49.99, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is attractively priced for such a high-quality bourbon. At 97 proof, this whiskey is balanced when consumed neat, but a splash or two of cool branch water will bring out more of the flavors and aromas in this bourbon. Overall, this is arguably the best bourbon I’ve tasted this year and one of the best bourbons I’ve had the pleasure to taste in recent memory. Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is a must-have bottle for any serious bourbon whiskey enthusiast. Do not miss the 2012 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product from Brown Forman for review. No other compensation from Brown Forman was received.