Nose: This smells of rich, classic bourbon. It is on the sweet side with some honey and brown sugar scents. I also picked up on some light rum-like scents. Palate: This starts out with a very deep, rich mouthfeel. It feels like it has substance and has a pleasant oiliness. You get a little heat up front, and then some more on the finish, both letting you know that you’re probably well above your standard 80 proofer. The heat in the finish is interesting because you feel it mostly on the roof of your mouth, near the back. I haven’t had that sensation in recent memory. It may be a bit much for a novice or non-whiskey drinker. After the first (“adjustment”) sip, you start to get classic bourbon vanilla and caramel that is definitely on the sweeter side. There’s a spike of cinnamon in the middle, right before the finish starts. It has a very rich and chewy texture that invites you to enjoy another sip. This also appears to be a good one to let sit and breath for a while. Much later sips brought out some more dark chocolate bitter/sweetness. You also get a bit of oak and/or wood char. Comments: There’s no secret that I like Old Forester and I find the 100 proof version to be very nice. I need to do a side-by-side with my favorite 1920, which is a little higher proof, or the 1897, which is also 100 proof, to see if the higher price of 1920 or 1897 justifies the cost. THIS one is solidly in the mid $20 range and I honestly think you can’t go wrong at that price. If you like regular Old Forester, I’d even recommend spending a few extra bucks to try the higher proof version. It has a complexity that I think you’d normally expect to find in a much higher priced bourbon. Many reviews on the Internet state that this is a good cocktail bourbon, and, although I haven’t tried that recently, I think I can see how that would be true. I have a couple of smaller bottles of this, so it IS available in smaller sizes, if you wanted to try-before-buy. This was a “brand-new” bottle that I opened for this review. I’ll be curious to see what a little bit of time opened does for it. The mashbill on this is reported to be 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malted barley. SO….I was sipping this while I was entering this review into the website and I still stand by everything above. Also, it turns out that the bottles I have of this are older. Newer versions do not have the word “Signature” on the bottle any more. I suppose now I’ll have to buy the “newer” version to see if the taste is any different. As usual….stand by…..
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