There is a strange phenomenon I’ve noticed when I discuss tasting notes with people. We will often use the most awful sounding descriptors to mean the most pleasant things. I’m reminded of a tasting that I and a few brand new friends of mine had in my hotel room while I was in Toronto last. The statement of “this reminds me of candle wax, terrific!” was heard. We were drinking some good single malt (yes, even for me such things pop up now and then). I thought it odd, but since I had less enthusiastically decided on band-aids to describe the same note I didn’t feel I should judge. Since that time, I’ve kept my eyes and ears open while on blogs and in discussions and again and again, this same thing happens.
I say that by way of introducing this year’s Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. I’ve read a lot of descriptions of Old Forester and Woodford Reserve that talk about a “plastic” note or an “artificial” note. They don’t tend to mean this in a good way. Others call it apples, pears, floral or fruity. These are obviously more complementary. It took me until last year to accurately describe what I was sensing. To me it seems like the smell of freshly painted latex paint. And thinking back to that Toronto hotel room, I mean it in a complementary way. Like a freshly painted room can smell fresh and clean, so does Old Forester to me.
In any case, think about this as you read the notes below. I really like this bourbon, but as you read the notes, you might not realize that.
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, 2015 release.
Purchase info: Ace Spirits, Hopkins, MN. 750 mL bottle for $74.99.
Details: 50% ABV. 12 year age stated
Nose: Strong latex paint (or whatever you call the typical Brown Forman note) along with some vanilla, mixed berries, caramel and brown sugar.
Mouth: Syrupy mouthfeel. Caramel, brown sugar, baking spices.
Finish: Sweet with lingering heat, latex paint and fruitiness.
Thoughts: If you are an Old Forester fan, Birthday Bourbon seldom disappoints. Its got all the same notes as any Brown Forman bourbon. They are just stronger and more concentrated and it’s older so there is typically more oak. This release is no exception. It’s Old Forester, just more so. I would say that though I think I liked last year’s better, this is still a solid pick should you find it.
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