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Bottom-Shelf Brackets 2018: Round 1d: Old Forester vs. Four Roses

Posted on by Eric Burke

Round 1d of the 2018 BourbonGuy.com Bottom Shelf Brackets features the only bourbon on bourbon action of the entire first round of the contest. We have number 2 seed Old Forester Bourbon (86 proof) versus Number 3 seed Four Roses Bourbon (this bottle still has a yellow label). 

Old Forester is a product of Brown-Forman. It is the lowest proof offering in the Old Forester family of expressions. It earns a number two seed due to being 86 proof.

Four Roses (Yellow Label) is the entry-level product in the Four Roses family of expressions. It is a mingling of all 10 bourbon recipes produced by the distillery. It is the only 80 proof whiskey in the Non-Age Stated portion of the contestants and as such is a number three seed. 

These were tasted blind in the following order. My thoughts on each are from before the reveal.

Old Forester

Purchase Info: $34.99 for a 1.75L bottle at Total Wine, Eagan, MN.

Details: 43% ABV, non-age stated.

Produced by: Brown-Forman

Nose: Almond, cherry, vanilla, and hints of anise. 

Mouth: Sweet with good spice. Nice mouthfeel. Cherry/almond, baking spice and a bit of capsaicin-style heat.

Finish: Medium Length cherry and baking spice linger. 

Pre-Reveal Thoughts: Very nice. Good mouthfeel. This could be a winner.

Four Roses (Yellow)

Purchase Info: $23.99 for a 1L bottle at Total Wine, Eagan, MN.

Details: 40% ABV.

Produced by: Four Roses

Nose: Floral, cinnamon red hot candies, a bit of citrus fruit. 

Mouth: Floral, baking spice, cherry, citrus fruit. A thinner mouthfeel than the previous one.

Finish: Warm, very floral with hints of mint. 

Pre-Reveal Thoughts: Thin in the mouth and very floral.  

Who wins?

I am an admitted and unashamed Four Roses fanboy. But then I like Old Forester too. Before the relatively recent release of the Whiskey Row series of expressions, it was my favorite of the brands made at least in part under the supervision of Master Distiller Chris Morris (86 proof, 100 proof and Woodford Reserve). It has since been surpassed as my favorite by the 1920 Prohibition Style expression but still ranks number two in the line-up for me. I had a feeling while setting up the initial matchups that this would be the closest of the four. It was not. One of these stood head and shoulders above the other when they were paired head-to-head. Thin and floral can't beat thick and spicy for me. Winner: Old Forester.  


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