Old Forester - 1920


Nose: This has a rich and sweet nose, full of molasses and brown sugar. Interestingly, on the first sniff, the alcohol tingled the inside of my nose a little. That’s a first. Maybe I inhaled to deeply…. A second sniff brought out some toasted grain and small amount of burnt wood (char?). The nose on this is very pleasant and invites you to keep sniffing before each sip. Palate: This first sip brought a pop of heat up front that turned very cinnamony in the mid-palate. The finish was decently long, with the warmth lingering all the way down the throat. The mouthfeel is about medium. It feels rich but isn’t overly oily. Later sips are a little complex and a bit hard to pin down, but to me it seemed like it wanted to keep the cinnamon going and add some pepper to it, making it feel not exactly too “hot” but getting there. I also picked up some of the brown sugar and toastiness from the nose as well as some chocolate. This gives your tongue a tingling sensation on the finish that is very different. I can’t remember another whiskey where I’ve felt exactly the same thing. “Sweet heat” might be a good quick description of this one, but in a rich, thick way, if that makes sense. Comments: If you like a complex bourbon that will make you think about it when you drink it, then this one is for you. There is a lot going on here. This has always been my favorite of the Old Forester Whiskey Row series. This is a hefty 115 proof but it comes across so differently from similar proof bourbons that it is really in a class by itself. The high proof doesn’t come across as harsh or burning, but that high cinnamon and pepper, I think, is quite likely the way the high proof comes across in this. If you enjoy a higher proof bourbon, then I think this is a must try, if for no other reason that it will intrigue you with its different profile. I you don’t care for higher proof bourbons, I would still encourage you to try this straight first and then either add some water or put an ice cube in it. I didn’t do that for this tasting, but I can’t help but think that it would tone it down enough to make it enjoyable to those who don’t like high proof. This is labeled as “1920” and “Prohibition Style” and I think you can see why. If you can’t buy booze during prohibition and you’re going to get it anyway, you might as well get as much bang for your buck as you can. That said, it isn’t just a “get-a-quick-buzz” whiskey, it has complexity of taste that may have actually been wasted on the “let’s-get-drunk” flappers of the 1920’s. The mashbill on this is 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. I wish the this was just a LITTLE cheaper, to make it an easy weekly buy. It will run you somewhere close to $60. Cheap enough to get, but not cheap enough to make it your daily drinker. Lastly, one of the reviews I read said that this reminded him of a good porter or stout beer and if you like those, you’ll like this….and I heartily agree. Those are my favorite beer styles and I think this was a good comparison.