Old Forester is not only America’s first bottled bourbon, it’s also America’s longest continuously distilled bourbon. First created around 1871 it was sold exclusively in sealed bottles starting in 1873 and marketed by a pharmaceutical salesman by the name of George Garvin Brown. Brown was the founder of the Brown-Forman corporation which owns a number of alcohol brands today and whose descendants still run the company today.
During prohibition this rye heavy bourbon was one of only 10 brands that were authorized for lawful production, for “medicinal purposes”, and is how it’s remained in continuous operation for over 142 years. What’s even more amazing is that it’s supposedly used the same mash bill of 72% Corn, 18% Rye & 10% malted barley the entire time (which is the same as Woodford Reserve). It is a rye heavy bourbon that doesn’t casually announce it’s rye, but shouts it.
Overall I enjoy this bourbon. It’s rustic, bold and full bodied which makes for a great bourbon to experience now and then. I say now and then because there is a strange medicinal quality laying about in the palate and a varnished wood quality to the nose that keeps it from being a “daily drinker” for me and turns it into more of a weekly one. These two aspects become cloying and overpowering fairly quickly but they’re also what makes this an interesting and flavorful tipple… every now and then.
If you’ve had the Old forester I’d love to see your thoughts or notes in the comments below.
Old Forester Review
Caramel, vanilla and bourbon spice lead the charge with red licorice, cinnamon, maraschino, brown sugar and some rye popping its head out. Overall a rather standard high rye bourbon nose that has a slight varnished wood quality running under it that seems to grow stronger the more I drink.
Caramel, citrus and rye are dominant on the palate with the rye picking up steam the more I drink it. Tobacco, biscuits, pie crust and a musty medicinal quality that is easily pushed aside at first, but keeps building as it’s drank.
Like a very fine grit sandpaper. It’s mostly smooth with a little bit of roughness to it.
Long dry finish that starts out with a very woody rye and caramel syrup that fades to bourbon spice