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May 05

Old Forester Bourbon – Review

Old Forester BourbonOld Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

86 Proof

Price Point: $15 – $25 for 750 ML

Distiller: Brown-Forman Distillers Co.

 

Background

Old Forester is one of those whiskeys you see on the shelf pretty often but never think to pick up.  The price point is average, the packaging is average, and so on and so forth.  It’s a Brown-Forman product (as I stated in a previous blog post), sharing its roots with Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve.

For me, it was one of those purchase decisions solely based on trying something new.  A risk like that has the potential to end in a pleasant surprise or an unfortunate waste of money.

 

Review

The nose on Old Forester is pretty standard for a bourbon.  There’s a good amount of corn and oak here.  A little harsh, but that’s probably because of its youth.

The nose compares pretty close to the taste.  High corn and oak.  A little smoother on the tongue than the nose.  There’s nothing too remarkable about the taste.  Again, pretty standard for a bourbon.

There’s a decent length on the finish with a little bit of spiciness.

 

Rating & Recommendations

I’m really not a huge fan of Old Forester, but there’s nothing in particular about this bourbon that I’m opposed to.  I give this brand a rating of 73 out of 100.

I’m really not sure how to recommend drinking this.  It certainly has enough flavor to be drunk neat, but I’d say it would be just as good on ice or with a mixer.  Feel free to experiment.

Old Forester is a decent bourbon; no big complaints or praises from me.

 

-Ryan

8 comments

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  1. Joshua Feldman

    Yup. Old Forester is cheap bourbon – which means that it’s a fine value for very little money; but tough to get excited about. Given the low price I’m generally of the opinion I’d rather drop a bit more money and get one that I actually am excited about. Such as Old Forester’s annual “Birthday” editions – generally 12 year old small batch versions.

    Tthe annual “birthday” editions have some real variations. Some aren’t the greatest, but some are spectacular bargains with really special character for a very competitive price. Regular Old Forester runs $13-$15 per 750ml. That’s about the same as Evan Williams Black. The 2011 Birthday edition of Old Forester runs $35-$40 around here – and the 2011 edition is getting hard to find. It’s worth the extra money, in my opinion. Granted that money puts you beyond Four Roses Single Barrel territory ($32) – which I’d probably pick over it. Still $35-$40 is less than many premium bourbons like Rock Hill Farms, Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, EC18, Noah’s Mill, Willets, Bakers etc… There’s actually an interesting “pocket” at $35 between the better $20-$30 bourbons (EC12, Buffalo Trace, Woodford, Eagle Rare 10, Elmer T. Lee, Bernheim, Redemption, ) and the $40+ ones. It’s the land of lower range bourbons’ “premium” editions like Maker’s Mark 46 and Forester Birthday and Jefferson 10.

    1. Ryan

      Thanks for the comment, Josh. I haven’t had Birthday Bourbon yet, although I have bought it for a friend as a gift. In Pennsylvania, it costs $45, but it is a special-order item so you have to pay for shipping as well, easily getting you into the low $50 range which (most of the time) is where I draw the line on a whiskey I’ve never had.

      -Ryan

  2. Charles Shaulis

    When a friend/relative/acquaintance is invited to your home or drops by for a visit, being the excellent host that you are, you offer them a drink (assuming it’s an appropriate time of day). If they answer “Yes, I’ll have a bourbon and _____” and _____ is (a) Coca Cola, (b) ginger ale, or (c) water, then Old Forester is the bourbon whiskey that you want to buy and set aside for that purpose. As you say, it’s inexpensive (you don’t have to rend your garments and gnash your teeth about wasting 2 ounces of your precious Blanton’s Original Single Barrel stash) and it’s taste profile is “pretty standard for a bourbon.” What more could you ask for? Besides, you can also use Old Forester as a mouthwash to kill the aftertaste left in your mouth from drinking a dram of Glenmorangie Lasanta scotch.

    1. Ryan

      Ooooh, you had take a shot at the Lasanta, huh Chuck? :)

      -Ryan

      1. Charles Shaulis

        Hello, Ryan.

        I made a hooch run over the border to NH recently and picked up a bottle of Old Forester Signature NAS bourbon on sale for $20. I twisted the cap off this 100-proof Brown-Forman expression tonight and poured 2 ounces neat into a Tennessee Sipper glass. Needless to say, I’m working on my 3rd pour of the night – it’s that good. Save the 86-proof Old Forester NAS expression for your bourbon & coke swilling friends, but use the Signature for a nice everyday pour when you don’t want to drink up the Blanton’s.

        Chuck

  3. Brian

    I had just tried Jim Beam black, and really like it. here in washington state it was about $22 which is a huge bargain considering all the taxes. so I go into a local store and I asked the guy who worked there who was a bourbon drinker if he liked jim beam black and he said, “it’s ok” ” but I like old forester”, that’s my bourbon.”

    so I thought I would try it since it was pretty cheap. how he could prefer old forester to jim beam black is beyond me. the black is aged 8 friggin years. the old forester tastes like it was made yesterday. But, it’s definitely drinkable, even neat with a bit of water. i’ts not bad, just not that great. my search for the perfect whiskey that costs $22 a bottle but tastes like a $50 a bottle continues.

    1. Ryan

      Hi Brian.

      Thanks for the comment. If you’re looking for something in low to mid-twenty dollar range, I would suggest Elijah Craig 12 Year Old or Eagle Rare 10 Year Old. Both (in my opinion) are far superior to Old Forester and Jim Beam Black. You can find my reviews of each on this site.

      Cheers!

      -Ryan

    2. John

      Don’t be fooled by Bourbon price points. For example Old Crow Reserve is often compared to Woodford Reserve. but far cheaper. So cheap, that shoppers like you pass it up every time.

      I am not a fan of Old Forester, but the serious bourbon drinkers her in my beloved bluegrass state of Kentucky, swear by it and is a staple in most liquor cabinets. I like the sweeter stuff like Makers Mark if I am going to drink it strait, but believe Old Forester is the better choice if mixing it with something like Coke which of course is sacrilegious in KY unless you are under 21 … or a woman.

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