Sour Mash Manifesto

Bourbon and American Whiskey

Review: 2013 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

Brown-Forman has been producing the distillery’s annual Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (OFBB) release since 2002. Named after the distillery’s founder, George Garvin Brown, the release celebrates Mr. Brown’s September 2nd birthday. I personally have a love-hate relationship with the OFBB release. The 2010 I rated a whopping 9.3 – superb stuff. Other annual releases have ranged from underwhelming to very good. The question is did Brown-Forman bring out the good stuff for 2013…….

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (2013), 49% abv (98 Proof), $54.95/bottle
Color: Medium Amber/Copper
Nose: Vanilla custard, caramelized banana, chocolate, dried dark fruits, and bright orange oil. Gentle oak character, but overall rich, sweet, and fruit forward.
Palate: Vanilla, butterscotch, pecan, and dried fruit livened with bitters, ginger, nutmeg, and hints of toast.
Finish: Lingering caramel sweetness, barrel spices (clove, nutmeg), and humming warmth.
Overall: The 2013 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (OFBB) is as epic a nose as you will find in the whiskey world – absolutely jaw dropping. The palate is perfectly proofed, harmonious, and on the sweeter side. I can easily say you’d have to look at the 2010 release to find an OFBB release as strong as this years. Even at $55 I consider the 2013 release a must try for bourbon lovers. Send me your opened bottles if you don’t enjoy the hell out of it – my birthday is right around the corner.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.5 (Superb)


  1. $45??? Man, go back and grab whatever they still have, if any. I know folks who’ve recently paid $100 for bottles and would have bought more, if they could. It’s one beautiful bottle of whiskey and given what people seem to be willing to pony up for other Bourbons and Ryes these days (not to mention Scotch), $100 is actually a very fair price for its quality.

  2. What? $100 for Old Forester Birthday Bourbon? It was $38 around here. There are very few bourbons I would spend $100 on and this, while good, is not one of them.

  3. I picked up five bottles not long ago in Washington. Sold two to friends, drinking one and bunkering the other two. Great stuff.

  4. I have a bottle of this and was expecting a real treat, and I boy was I disappointed. A friend in Tennessee found it for me and brought up to me in Kentucky. It cost him $55. First, let me say that I have never been a fan of Old Forester, but with all the enthusiasm about this bourbon, I was really excited to taste it being 12-yo and all. Now, after having spent a casual night or two sipping this, frankly, I would trade this for a bottle of Blanton’s or Weller 12-year all day. Have to say that for a BF product, I’d would rather have Woodford Reserve. No more Old Fo’ for this bourbon fan.

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