Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, 2011 edition

Maker: Brown-Forman, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Age: 12 y/o (distilled 1999, bottled 2011)

Style: High-rye bourbon

Proof: 98 (49% ABV)

Appearance: Dark copper with longy clingy legs.

Nose: Black walnut, oak, varnish, dried figs, mincemeat pie, old bottles of Old Forester Bottled-in-Bond

On the palate: Thin and surprisingly light on the palate. A litte spice, sweetness and burn. Doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the nose.

Finish: The assertive, “dusty” Old Forester notes from the nose come roaring back in the finish. Big burn, then big tannic oak, then a hint of cotton candy. The burn and tannins linger for a very long time, begin to transform into peppermint, and then vanish. Wow.

Parting words: Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is always interesting, whatever else it may be year to year. Ironically 2011’s is unusual in its Old Forester-ness. The previous two years were notable for being the least Old Forestery in a while. This one brings to mind old bottles of Old Forester Bottled-in-Bond or a milder version of the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Seasoned Oak. The 2011 edition is the best since 2008 and is recommended.