2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Review

2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Review

2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is the latest release from a brand that has been around for about 145 years. This annual release is called the Birthday Bourbon because it commemorates George Garvin Brown’s birthday (Brown-Forman’s founder) which is September 2nd. This is the 14th release of the Birthday Bourbon and it’s jumped up about $20 over last year’s release.

The 2014 Birthday Bourbon retailed for about $60, this year it’s going for about $80, but that’s just the suggested starting price. As with all of the limited edition shenanigans that happen every year I’m seeing these go for about 2x that and unfortunately that’s the climate we’re in these days. Slap Limited Edition on the label and you can charge whatever you want, but at least it’s not a 7 year old LE bourbon retailing for $105.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2015 Info

Region: Kentucky, USA

Distiller: Brown-Forman
Mashbill: 72% Corn, 18% Rye & 10% malted barley
Cask: New charred oak
Age: 12 years
ABV: 50%

Price: $80

2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Review

EYE
Old Wood

NOSE
Wood rides shotgun to notes of dark fruit, caramel, vanilla taffy, spice and chocolate orange.

PALATE
An astringent woodines sits next to notes of dark fruit, spice and cocoa. Some light notes of caramel, vanilla and grain also hitch a ride across the palate.

FINISH
Long and woody layered with notes of dark fruit, caramel, corn and cocoa.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
A bit off balance, medium bodies and it comes across a bit hot.

OVERALL
When I first opened the 2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon it was a giant knot of astringent wood, but I know that sometimes bourbons like this can open up and mellow after 2-3 weeks of being open so I held off on my initial review. For the following 3 weeks I had an ounce or so each Monday and it tasted better with each passing week. 4 weeks and 3 days after opening it I got the chance to sit down with some fellow whiskey folks and taste the 2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon side-by-side with the 2014 and the 2006 and it had become much more lively at that point. It was a fun comparison, but even after opening up it still ended up ranking 3rd in the group.

It’s a perfectly fine sipping bourbon, but in no way does this year’s release justify the $20 price increase. I’d honestly rather have the Old Forester Signature, which is also 100 proof, but costs about $60 less than this. For a long time Old Forester Birthday Bourbon was the major value among yearly releases, but it looks like those days are gone and it has joined the ranks of overpriced annuals.

SCORE: 85/100

2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 84
  • Palate - 86
  • Finish - 86
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 84

Summary

2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is a bit overly wooded and a lot overly priced. If you want a 100 proof Old Forester just grab a bottle of the Old Forester Signature. It’ll cost you 1/4 - 1/3 as much.

2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Label

Josh Peters
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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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2 Responses to 2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Review

  1. I just sampled this at a bar in DC. I have a bottle of 2014 at home that I like well enough, though there are others I like more for far less money. I thought the 2015 tonight was terrible. In addition to be overly woody, it was just way to hot given the abv. Honestly, very disappointing and I’m really glad I didn’t shell out for a bottle.

    Also had an ounce of Elliott’s Select for the same price. Much MUCH better pour!

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