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Using Old Forester Birthday Bourbon to Celebrate a Serious Milestone

Posted on by Eric Burke

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is one of those releases that my wife probably shouldn’t want as much as she does. The gimmick is that it is the product of one day’s production. The good thing is that it is also 12 years old. The bad thing is that it is now $79.99. 

As it is announced on September 2 each year and both of our birthdays and our wedding anniversary follow closely behind that, the coincidence of it is too much for her. She asks for it every year as a belated birthday present. And it is a present that is getting harder and harder to get my hands on. This year I actually had to pull a few strings with a local retailer (who asked not to be named) in order to make my lady happy. Next year? No idea what will happen. 

September is a pretty good month for us. Not only do we each get a birthday present and take a trip to Kentucky to celebrate our anniversary with friends, but it is also Bourbon Heritage Month. As we are big bourbon fans, that just adds to the nice set of coincidences. 

But September has another meaning for us as well. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. It’s hard to notice the teal sometimes when the pink for breast cancer is so much more pervasive and spills over it’s month on both ends. Buying something pink feels good. Like you are making a difference. And to be honest who doesn’t love boobs? None of us would be alive if ovaries didn’t exist, but they are inside. In the parts that make boys squeamish. The parts that are near where a period happens. The parts that people don’t talk about in polite company. Right? 

Wrong. Grow up boys. 

Today my wife had her four and a half year check-up after surviving Ovarian Cancer. Once again, she is all clear. One more good check-up and the cancer doctor turns her over to a regular doctor to monitor her. This is great news. But it almost wasn’t. When she was diagnosed, it was a fluke accident. She knew something wasn’t right with her body and every doctor she talked to told her she was fine. 

A year later she ended up having a cyst on an ovary surgically removed and the doctor that was supposed to do the surgery had a family emergency and so his boss took over. His boss was one of the best gynecological oncologists in the state. Since it was her specialty, she nosed around a little while she was inside and found something. My wife had multiple tumors. Tests confirmed that they were cancerous. She was at Stage 3. She went into immediate chemotherapy and within a few months she was given the all clear. She was lucky on so many levels. She happened to have another issue in the same area, she ended up with a specialist doing the surgery instead of the scheduled doctor and she had a particularly slow growing form of the cancer. 

Today 1 in 75 women will develop Ovarian Cancer in their lifetime. And not just old women , but women as young as preteen have died of this horrible disease. 75% of those diagnosed are still alive after one year, but that number drops to only 44% at five years. Less than half of the women diagnosed will survive five years. Think about that. There are over 150 million women in the US. That means over two million of them will develop Ovarian Cancer in their lifetime and after diagnosis almost 1.5 million will be dead within 5 years.

But the good news is that in those women where it is diagnosed early, 94% survive to five years. And more and more women are being diagnosed early. Three years ago it was less than 15%. Today it is about 20%. Still not a lot, but trending the right direction. The problem is that many of the symptoms are also symptoms of other things. Bloating, pelvic pain, feeling full quickly and needing to pee are not exactly uncommon in women. And many doctors are willing to dismiss them. What we’ve learned through this is that if your doctor won’t listen to you when you know something isn’t right, find a new doctor. And keep doing it until you find one will at least check it out.

My wife was lucky, but if the first doctor had listened to her maybe should wouldn’t have needed to be. Tonight we are celebrating four and a half years clear with the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon I mentioned above. I’m thinking that we might even do two pours before the night is over.

If you want to know more about this disease, please go to http://www.ovariancancer.org. I know this is a whiskey blog. But what is whiskey without someone to share it with? My wife loves whiskey. She helps with the tasting notes and is the “silent” partner of this site. I want each and every one of you to have someone to share your whiskey with and I don’t want you to lose them or yourself because talking about “girl parts” is hard.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2016

Purchase Info: $79.99 at a retailer who has requested to be left unnamed.

Details: 12 years old. 48.5% ABV.

Nose: Warm and rich with brown sugar, pipe tobacco, apricot and baking spices.

Mouth: Sweet and oaky with brown sugar, baking spices, dried apples, and that “Brown Forman Latex Paint” note typical of their bourbons.

Finish: Warm and of decent length with oak, baking spices and fruity latex paint.

Thoughts: This used to be a fun release to pick up on a whim back when you could find it. It was $40 or less, it was tasty enough and the gimmick was fun. Today, you could be excused for wondering why someone would pay $80 for a 12 year old bourbon. But then I’d point you to sites online where people pay over $100 for Weller 12. That said, I feel like this has reached the point where if the price goes up any further, I’ll probably find another way to celebrate my wife’s birthday each year. I like this, but the quality to price ratio gives me pause.


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