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Old Forester Statesman

Posted on by Eric Burke

Last night I finally got to see the movie Kingsman: the Golden Circle. It was a minor miracle that it happened. My wife hates almost everything about the movie-going experience. She doesn't like spending the money on a ticket or food. She doesn't like all the other people around. She doesn't want to go during the weekend because it is too crowded and she doesn't want to go during the week because she doesn't want to leave the house after working all day. In fact, just about the only thing she does like is the fact that our local movie theater now has a bar and you can carry the drinks into the showing with you.

I, on the other hand, love going to the movies. So much so that I occasionally go by myself. But I don't go to just any movie. I'm married to an accountant, so if I'm going to spend the money, it has to be a spectacle. It has to be big and loud, with amazing special effects. Most of all it needs to be fun. You will almost never find me watching a depressing drama outside of my house. 

The original Kingsman movie was one of the most fun films we'd seen in a while. It was fun, action-packed, and most importantly didn't take itself too seriously. It was fun, and better yet, funny. So when we heard that the sequel had bourbon as a backdrop? Well, that just made it easier for me to convince her to come along. 

I won't give any spoilers, but there is a brand of bourbon called Statesman that is featured rather heavily in the movie. It is Old Forester in all but name. (Shoutout to WhiskyCast for an excellent interview with the folks from Old Forester about that.) In fact, as you go through the film, sharp eyed bottle history buffs will find more than one antique Old Forester bottle as set dressing. Is it any good? Yeah, I thought it was just as fun as the first one. 

Oh, you meant the bourbon? Well, let's find out!

Old Forester Statesman

Purchase Info: $51.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Party Mart, Louisville, KY.

Details: 47.5% ABV. Non-age stated.

Nose: Caramel, cinnamon, ginger ale, bubble gum. 

Mouth: Spicy with ginger and cinnamon spice, sweet vanilla, mint and a touch of astringent oak.

Finish: Medium length with warm spices. 

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Thoughts: This is another tasty Old Forester product. If you like Old Forester, give this a shot. I like it. I'm not thrilled with the price though. I'm not sure if I would pay $50+ for it again, maybe if I saw it on sale.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

Old Forester Single Barrel: Liquor Barn/Forecastle Selection

Posted on by Eric Burke

Today I was up and on the road by 6 am to drive the six hours (each way) to Milwaukee to buy some empty bourbon barrels to use as raw materials for my Etsy store, BourbonGuyGifts.com. It was a fun and tiring day. Tiring because I was driving for about 12 hours. Fun because I got my hands on four great looking empty bourbon barrels and three very pretty wine barrel heads. I didn't plan on getting any wine barrel heads, I mean my store makes things for bourbon lovers. But they were in good shape, very pretty and the price was right. I'm sure I'll be able to figure out something to do with them.

In a way, those wine barrel heads are kind of like the bourbon I'm drinking tonight. When I bought each of them, I was looking for something else. But in each case the price was right so I grabbed them instead. 

See, around this time every year I try to get a bottle of Birthday Bourbon for my wife. But at a suggested price of around $80 per bottle, I wasn't trying too hard this year. Instead, when I was down in Kentucky. I grabbed a bottle of Old Forester Single Barrel. It was half the price and every bottle I've picked up has been very good. 

This bottle was no exception. 

Old Forester Single Barrel: Liquor Barn/Forecastle Selection

Purchase Info: $38.99 for a 750 mL at Liquor Barn Middleton, Louisville, KY. 

Details: 45% ABV. Chosen for the 15th Anniversary of the Forecastle Festival. Aged in Warehouse H on Floor 5.

Nose: Sweet with vanilla, mint, and almond.

Mouth:  Sweet with a light spice. Notes of vanilla, mint, and almond.

Finish: Nice and spicy with lingering notes of mint and almond. 

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Thoughts: This is by far the best bottle of Old Forester Single Barrel I've had. I am really digging it. Which is kind of amazing to me since I basically bought it in place of a limited edition that cost twice as much (and which in recent year's has been kind of lackluster, in my view). 

Damn. Wish I'd thought of that in the store...I would have bought two and felt justified doing it.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

The Bourbon Bar at Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace, Bardstown, Kentucky

Posted on by Eric Burke

Let me tell you. I may have found my new favorite place to grab a drink while attending the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. And I came across it quite by accident. 

As you are aware, I visit the Kentucky Bourbon Festival every year. And every year, one of the many things I like to do is visit the lawn area where the distilleries and local craftspeople sell things to the public. I seldom buy anything, but I always like to look. One of the other things I like to do is wander around downtown and see the window displays that the distilleries put into the shop windows. It reminds me of the things that used to happen in the town I grew up in, back before the future happened and people stopped caring what local businesses looked like.  

So last year, we were walking between the lawn and 3rd street on one of the warmer days of the week. We decided to check out this store called the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace. Mostly as a way to hop out of the direct sunlight that was threatening to burn our Northern skin to a crisp. We'd been in there before and knew that in addition to the "souvenir" store and liquor store, there was also a bar in the building. Most of the times I had walked past previously, the bar had been packed, but this time for whatever reason it wasn't and we had the opportunity to stop in for a drink. Weirdly, I knew the bartender...or at least I knew who he was and had interacted with him on previous trips to Bardstown. His name is Don. Longtime readers might remember Don as our first tour guide at the Barton 1792 distillery way back on our first BourbonFest trip in 2012. Don was as good a bartender as he was a tour guide and for most of the same reasons. He's just fun to talk to.

Which means we were extremely happy when we stopped in this year and found that he is still working behind the bar at the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace. And this time around, after talking to Howard (the owner) and realizing he was just as nice and fun to talk to, I decided to take a few photos and let you guys in on the secret of the place too.

You enter the store from Flaget Street. It is very conveniently located one block north and one block west of the roundabout in the center of Bardstown. If you are in Downtown Bardstown you are only a few minute's walk to it, no matter where you start from.

This is a very small place. There are 8-10 seats at the bar and three tables with 3-4 seats each. There is some standing room. I made use of it on Saturday afternoon of my most recent visit. There is also a patio in the warmer months, as weather allows. But one of the things that makes this a good place to visit is the selection. Every pour is $9 aside from the middle section of the shelves. These ranged from $15 up to $90 (as you might guess, the highest proces went for those in the bags on the top shelf...).

Speaking of selection, this was the bar where I had myself my first taste of the Four Roses Al Young 50th Anniversary Small Batch. It was $15 and it was delicious. I wish I had been able to get a bottle, but I'm happy enough to have tried it in a nice place surrounded by good people.

They also have cocktails. My wife was particularly fond of the Bardstown Bubbler, a house cocktail that won the title of "Official Cocktail of the 2016 Kentucky Bourbon Festival." It has Peach Bitters, Campari, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, Buffalo Trace and is topped with sweet Champagne and garnished with a mint sprig. I would, however, avoid their take on the Sazerac. It leaves out the Absinthe and lemon peel and is garnished with an orange peel. So basically, it is a Rye Old Fashioned. 

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But that aside, every bartender there was fun and interesting to talk to. The drinks were reasonably priced. The atmosphere was friendly and fun. All in all, it was a nice place to pass the afternoon and grab a drink or three.

The Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace is located at 110 West Flaget Ave in Bardstown, Kentucky. 


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

Revisiting an Old Review: Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond

Posted on by Eric Burke

It has been 1727 days since I last formally reviewed the bonded version of Old Fitzgerald. I also mentioned it in an If You've Had... article almost two years ago. So it seemed about time to go back and take another look at it. 

Since the last time I reviewed this, Old Fitz has kinda fallen on hard times. The last time around, it was easy to find and I picked it up at a local store here in Minnesota. Since that time, Old Fitz's offspring, Larceny has replaced it in national distribution channels. At this point, I think Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond is either Kentucky-only or very very close to it.

Surprisingly, one thing that hasn't changed though is the price. After adjusting for inflation and taking into account of the difference in state taxes, the price has been remarkably steady in the last 4 years. $18 in Minnesota for the last review versus $23 in Kentucky for this one.

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond

Purchase Info:  $22.99 for a one-liter bottle at Westport Whiskey and Wine, Louisville, KY.

Details:  50% ABV. Non-age stated, but at least 4 years old by law. Distilled at DSP-KY-1 and bottled at DSP-KY-31

Nose: Strong notes of caramel and vanilla, followed by lighter notes of dried grain, spearmint, and baking spices.

Mouth: Sweet caramel leads with spearmint and baking spices following. 

Finish: Warm and of decent length. Lingering mint and caramel. 

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Thoughts: This is one of those bourbons that I reviewed early and then looked past for many years. When it was pulled back to a very limited distribution, I was a little sad, but since we were getting Larceny in return I wasn't too upset. After picking up a bottle on this last visit to Kentucky, I wish I had grabbed two. Not because this is better than Larceny, it isn't. Its added proof makes it different, not better, not worse. At least for me. But I like a bit more proof now and then and a good Bottled in Bond 100 proofer is sometimes just what I am looking for.

Since I liked both of them last time around, it looks like the verdict hasn't changed all that much. I still like it as much as I do Larceny. Which is to say I like it quite a bit as a daily drinker. Nothing special, but nothing to leave you wishing you'd poured something else instead either.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

Collabor&tion

Posted on by Eric Burke

I state in my Statement of Ethics that if I accept a review sample, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article. Please consider it disclosed. I’d like to thank Ro-Bro Marketing and Public Relations, Bardstown Bourbon Company and Copper & Kings for providing this sample to me with no strings attached. 

While I was in Kentucky I was invited to a media event to announce the first product to be released by Bardstown Bourbon Company. I was a bit scared of the product, to be honest, they only started distilling a year ago and I was unsure what was going to be released. But my fears were allayed when I got the press release stating that the bourbon was sourced from MGP and was 10-years old. 

When I got to the distillery for the event, I came to the realization that there were actually two products. One was a barrel strength, brandy finished bourbon. And one was a barrel strength Mistelle finished bourbon. Which left me with just one question. What the hell is Mistelle?

Luckily they were kind enough to provide us a cheat sheet and so I will quote from that.

"A Mistelle barrel is a unique vessel. Mistelle is unfermented grape juice (in this case Muscat) fortified with un-aged brandy (Muscat eau-de-vie) and then aged in bourbon barrels for 18 months. The empty barrels are deeply and highly caramelized with the grape sugars and fruit essences."

So where did the barrels they used to finish the products come from? Well, that is the source of the name. Both the Mistelle and the Brandy were produced by Louisville's Copper & Kings Brandy. See it was a collaboration between the two companies that made this possible and from what I can tell, both were heavily involved in the final product.

Collabor&tion - Muscat Mistelle Finished

Purchase Info: I received a sample of this from the company at the launch event. SRP is $124.99 and can be purchased at the Copper & Kings gift shop and selected retailers around the country. 

Details: 47% ABV. 10-year-old MGP bourbon finished in Copper&Kings Mistelle barrels for an additional 18 months.

Nose: White grape juice, brown sugar, almost no whiskey notes on the nose.

Mouth: Very sweet with just a touch of spice at the tip of the tongue. White grape candy with clove and black pepper.

Finish: Warm and of decent length, but also very sweet. Lingering notes of white grape juice, spearmint, and baking spice.

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Thoughts: This one just isn't for me. Aside from a few varieties of baked goods, I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I don't like candy, I don't like most soda, and I don't like most liqueurs. That said, if you want a sweet grape whiskey liqueur but want it to have the proof of a whiskey, this might be right up your alley. I mean, it isn't a liqueur, but it tastes as sweet as one. Personally, I might have liked it better if they had taken this and then blended it back with more of the original straight whiskey. But that's just me.

Collabor&tion - Brandy Finished

Purchase Info: I received a sample of this from the company at the launch event. SRP is $124.99 and can be purchased at the Copper & Kings gift shop and selected retailers around the country. 

Details: 56.5% ABV. 10-year-old MGP bourbon finished in Copper&Kings Brandy barrels for an additional 18 months.

Nose: Baking spices, caramel, and oak. Hints of raisin appear after a bit.

Mouth: Sweet, spicy and relatively brandy forward. Notes of nutmeg, raisin, and caramel.

Finish: Long and warm with lingering grape, nutmeg, and caramel notes.

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Thoughts: Your thoughts on this will depend largely on how much you like both finished bourbons and brandy. I happen to enjoy both so this is a bit of a treat for me. It is scarily drinkable neat despite its high proof. The flavors are thick and rich. All in all, it is very tasty. (That said, there is no way I would pay $125 for this whiskey. Though that says more about my budget than it does about the quality of the whiskey.)


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!