Old Forester - 1897


Nose: The nose is on the sweet side but you definitely pick up more alcohol scents. I got a little raisin and a little bit of corn. There’s a tiny amount of rye spice scent, but it is very light. Palate: This guy is a lot more aggressive than the previously reviewed Statesman. It has a much longer finish and isn’t nearly as sweet. It is more on the “roasty” side. You get a decent amount of rye spice up front and then it starts turning peppery. The pepper continues through the finish and then there’s an aftertaste of pepper, rye spice and burnt brown sugar or molasses. There is also some roasted or toasted grain flavor. Although not really harsh, and I wouldn’t call it burning, it is definitely on the warm side and the warmth is pretty long. Comments: The 2nd of Old Forester’s Whiskey Row series (named for Whiskey Row in Louisville, KY), this is a bottled-in-bond, 100 proof. It gets its name (1897) because that is the year the Bottled in Bond act was passed. Supposedly, the recipe for this is supposed to be “reminiscent of a 19th century bourbon”. The mash bill is 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% barley, with a #4 char on the barrels, and with a 125 proof entry into the barrel. By the way, Old Forester…..the oldest continuously operating distillery in the country and the first to sell whiskey sealed in bottles. They must be doing something right! I like this, but not as much as the Statesman or the 1920. That said, this was not my favorite of the Whiskey Row series to begin with. I think if you like a more roasty tasting bourbon, this would be up your alley. If, like me, you like sweeter, the Statesman would be a better choice between the two. Total Wine sells this for $61 (which means you can probably find it cheaper in other places). I’m still not sure that it is worth it for that price. If it could be had at Dollar Days for low to mid $30’s, it is worth getting. I don’t think you would dislike it, but from an economic standpoint, there are better choices in its price range.