The 2015 edition of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is the 14th release to commemorate (Brown-Forman and Old Forester founder) George Garvin Brown’s September 2nd birthday. This 12 year old bourbon was bottled from a single day of production, June 13, 2003 and aged in one location. According to the distillery it was also aged somewhat aggressively near a window and heat cycling duct. As a result the barrels were exposed to higher temperatures than normal. How does this impact the 2015? Let’s find out.
2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon , 50% abv (100 Proof), $70/bottle
Color: Medium Amber
Nose: Big, rich nose of vanilla, butterscotch, burned caramel, heaps of wood spices (cinnamon and clove), hints of orange peel, and a healthy dose of oak. Not nearly as much fruit character on the nose vs. previous releases, but I like the wallop. Responds well with some water.
Palate: Creamy vanilla, dark dark caramel syrup, molasses, barrel char, and cinnamon red hots. Sweet and spicy with a lot of zip. The heat from the proof and the spice calm quickly with a few drops of water, revealing candied orange and golden raisin.
Finish: Charred oak, caramel sweetness and cinnamon spice linger a long long time. Beautiful.
Overall: I always find the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon nose to be a real masterclass. While not nearly as nuanced as previous years, the 2015 is stellar in it’s own right. On the palate the proof and spice mingle with the creamy sweetness to create something quite different. It’s perhaps not as well rounded as past releases, but it comes off well here. Clearly the distillery was going for something a bit bolder and brasher than previous releases, and they executed well. The price is much higher, but what limited release isn’t these days? It’s an outstanding pour.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.1 (Outstanding)