1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond Review

1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond Review

World War 2 raged from 1939 to 1945. This 1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond was distilled in the Spring of 1939 before WW2 “officially” began (Sept 1) and was bottled in the Fall of 1943 which was when Italy surrendered to the Allies and declared war on Germany.

While US Troops were fighting Nazis on foreign soil this bottle of “America’s Guest Whiskey” safely sat state-side on a liquor store shelf. Through a series of events it found its way to me 73 years later and is now being written about using a device that would have appeared as Grade-A science fiction level tech in 1943. What an interesting world we live in.

In Old Forester’s Words: 1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond

From the back of the label: “This whiskey is distilled by us only, and we are responsible for its richness and fine quality. Its elegant flavor is solely due to original fineness developed with care. There is nothing better in the market.”

Between “…original fineness developed with care” and “There’s nothing better in the market” this whiskey is putting up a lot of promises that need to be lived up to. Time to see if those promises can stand the test of time in the 1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond review below.

1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond Tax Strip

1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond Info

Region: Kentucky, USA

Distiller: Old Forester
Mashbill: 72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley (unless they’ve changed it over the years)
Cask: New Charred Oak
Age: 4 years (39-43)
ABV: 50%

Price: NA – Auction, private seller or specialty store.

1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond Review

Ruddy caramel

Dark fruit, oak, clove-like spice, peanut butter, orange peels, caramel, vanilla and a bit of varnish. The typical musty OBE (Old Bottle Effect) has mostly blown off leaving only a hint of “musty room” behind.

Heavy creaky oak, dense dark fruit, clove and bergamot laden spice, peanuts, caramel, cocoa, vanilla and a light bit of waxy fruit. The OBE hangs a bit heavier here but far less than you’d expect in a whiskey bottled 73 years ago.

Layers of bergamot, oak, dark sweets, vanilla and dried dark fruit, with a dusting of OBE, goes on and on and on.

Great sense of balance, full round body and a heavy oily texture.

When I first opened this 1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond I hated it. The OBE was so overpowering I couldn’t taste anything else. I went back to the bottle and poured myself a bit once a week to check on it till it was about 3/4 full and then I left it alone for about 3 months; that’s when it mysteriously began evaporating. And by evaporating I mean my friends and I started drinking it every time we hung out because it blossomed into a beauty of a whiskey.

That’s the key with old whiskeys like this 1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond. Once opened you gotta give ‘em some time to breathe, to stretch their legs and let some of that funk out after being cooped up for so long. As the bottle continues its march towards empty it continues to get richer, deeper and more flavorful and aromatic. It’s more and more becoming the kind of bourbon I want to drink all the time. If anyone has a spare time machine laying around let me know, I’d love to borrow it for an afternoon. I have some groceries to pick up back in 1943.

SCORE: 90/100 (A-)

1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 90
  • Palate - 90
  • Finish - 90
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 90


1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond is awesome old whiskey. This is from an unrepeatable era and worth a taste if you get the chance.

1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond Label

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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3 Responses to 1943 Old Forester Bottled In Bond Review

  1. Josh,

    Do you think the old growth timber used in the barrels back then had a large effect on the flavor? It just seems modern distilleries can’t come close to the flavor found in 4-6 year old bourbon from the 60’s and earlier. I know glut era bourbon had much older bourbon in it, but certainly not in 1943.

    Or, do you think a modern distillery could duplicate this flavor if they really wanted to??


    • Hey Weller,

      I think that definitley has something to do with it and plays a big role, but I think it’s also more complicated than just the barrel. Water, grain quality, yeast strains, water quality, air quality and chemicals in the wood, slight tweaks to process, etc. But in short to answer your question, no. No I don’t think they could, I think whisky production is always a snapshot of a moment in time.


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