Old Forester - Single Barrel


Nose: The nose is on the light side with brown sugar, raisin and a small amount of citrus notes. Palate: On the first sip, this starts out sweet and then the heat starts to build. The heat begins in the mid-palate and works its way into the finish. The heat is much toned down on the second sip, when your palate it used to it. That second sip brought out some molasses and includes the brown sugar from the nose. The mouthfeel is nice and on the thicker side. There’s a little bit of a bitter-ish after-taste, but it isn’t offensive. After that first sip, the length of the finish seems to shorten considerably…probably because you get a lot less heat out of it. On much later sips, there was an earthy/woody quality to the flavor. This is a nice sipper and above the average Old Forester, no doubt due to a good pick by the folks at the liquor store. Comments: This is the second Single Barrel review of Old Forester. The last one was of a single barrel from Astor Liquors in New York City. Several years ago, that was one of the first places to have single barrels of Old Forester. I decided to take a Bolt Bus up for a day trip to check out their store. On the minus side, it is a 6 hour roundtrip bus trip. On the plus side, it is super cheap (I think it was like $30 roundtrip) and I brought my portable DVD player so I was able to enjoy some Westerns in both directions…..with the added benefit of some bourbon on the way back (don’t tell anyone….I don’t think you are allowed to drink on the bus). In any case, it is a pretty decent size store right in Manhattan. In addition to this bottle, I also purchased several you-can-only-get-it-in-NY selections (most of which I’ve reviewed). This was definitely the cream of the crop. So…..fast forward to this bottle. It was picked by the fine folks over at one of my local stores. They do a good job picking barrels when they do a store pick. Like the Astor pick, this one is 90 proof. I believe I payed something in the $30 range (probably lower end) for this, but it was a few years ago. It isn’t super complex, but you shouldn’t expect too much from a bourbon at this price point. So…..how did this stand up to the Astor pick? Here’s what I said about that, back in June: Nose: The nose is light with corn sweetest being the most powerful element. It has hints of alcohol and generally has very light amounts of “classic” bourbon smells. Palate: This is a warm bourbon. It isn’t harsh nor burning, but it does have a little more heat to it than average. It isn’t unpleasant and fades fairly quickly. It also fades a bit on later sips. The flavors lean towards dark chocolate, burnt sugar, and molasses with some hints of pepper, light cinnamon and just a hint of rye spice. Despite the slightly higher warmth factor, the mouthfeel is very nice. It is oily but still in the middle range. The finish is right about in the middle range, not too short and not long. Later sips included some hints of dark cherry flavors. I like the sweetness of this one, but it has other stuff going on, so it isn’t JUST sweet. It is an interesting sipper. Comments: I had to go to New York City to get this bottle a few years ago. That is to say, I didn’t HAVE to…..it was an excuse to take a day trip to NYC on a beautiful spring day. There’s a large liquor store in Manhattan called Astor that, at the time, was the only place around that had single barrel bottles of Old Forester. Since I’ve always liked Old Forester, I made the journey to get it. It wasn’t crazy expensive….I THINK it was in around the mid $30 range. If you are ever in NYC and have some time, this is a pretty cool store and worth a visit (https://www.astorwines.com) Since my trip, other places closer to home have come out with Single Barrel selections of Old Forester, so it may be easier to find one closer to home now. I like this. This is 90 proof and I do think that the heat is a little closer to what you would expect from a 100+ proof. But, I still like it. The mashbill is reported to be 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malted barley and it is reported to be 4 1/2 years old. In January of this year (2020), Old Forester reported the relaunch of their Single Barrel program. They have eliminated the 90 proof and will now offer a 100 proof and a barrel strength. I’ll be looking for them and will report back if I find them……