Nose: This smells delightful and sweet. This is the way bourbon should smell. It is so inviting that you want to keep smelling it but you also want to sip it immediately. It has caramel, honey and raisin notes. Palate: The first sip brings forward classic bourbon with a decent amount of sweetness. The mouthfeel is velvety and very pleasant. It is easy to keep your sip in your mouth for a little bit longer than you normally might. The finish is on the edge between medium and long, with it leaning more toward long. Although there was a decent amount of heat on the first sip, it was very much tempered after that. It is a very nice, inviting warming that starts in the mid-palate and continues into the finish. It isn’t too intense and is inviting without being overbearing. The second sip brings a blast of flavors. It is complex without being super confusing. It has a nice balance. There’s some rye spiciness, some woody oak, a bit of butterscotch and some molasses along with a decent dose of vanilla. The taste felt “creamy” to me….a bit like a good frothy beer, but of course, not exactly the same. Lastly, there’s a slight aftertaste that serves to remind you of the nice sip you just had. Comments: If it didn’t come across above, this is one of my favorites. I like a wide variety of Old Forester products and their annual Birthday Bourbon is always their top stuff. Each year it is a little different and some are better than others, but each easily stands on its own as a delightful bourbon. I used to have “a guy” at a local liquor store who always made sure I got a bottle of this. Alas, he moved on, and the “guy” who took his place didn’t know my history and the flow of the Birthday Bourbon stopped. Now, with the ever increasing popularity of bourbon in general, you either have to spend a ton of money throughout the year to get “favored status", win a bourbon lottery, or spend WAY too much money on the secondary market. Well…..as much as I REALLY like the Birthday Bourbons, I’m just not going to pay several hundreds of dollars for it (Some aftermarket websites are advertising it for over a thousand dollars!). Since the Flying Aces inventory is very robust, I no longer spend huge amounts (yes, maybe even stupid amounts) of money buying bourbon. So….that leaves the lottery. Most the stores I deal with do not do a lottery that includes the Birthday Bourbon. SO…..I don’t get it any more. I will, on occasion, spend the money to try a glass in a bar, but honestly, I’ve cut back on that too. And, with the covid virus, I’m not going out to any of my whiskey bars. That said…..if you are looking to have something special when you are out and about, you can almost always be assured that picking a Birthday Bourbon will be a good choice. It is also likely to cost you less than a Pappy. Old Forester’s website (oldforester.com) indicates that in 2014 the Birthday Bourbon came from the “middle floors of Warehouse G and I”. The whole deal with the Birthday Bourbon is to pay tribute to the company’s founder, George Galvin Brown’s, birthday. This year (and probably most), they used 95 barrels to make up the bottling. That roughly equates to one day’s production of Old Forester…..which explains why there isn’t much of it and why it costs so much. This clocks in at a near perfect 97 proof and is made up of 12 year old juice. The mashbill is undisclosed but reported to be 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malted barley. In 2014, the MSPR was $60….which is what I paid for it. You can recognize Birthday Bourbon by the unique bottle, which is nice, because it makes it easy to spot on a backbar. BUT….the shape makes it a bit of a pain for keeping on a shelf because it takes up too much space and you need to take care when pouring so you don’t spill any. In addition, I have the very minor complaint of the printing of the year to be VERY small and hard to read. Luckily, each year’s release has a different color label over the stopper.
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