2017 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Review

The Fall bourbon season always begins with Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.  Every time I see that bottle, it makes me think of Queen singing, “Fat Bottomed Bottles you make the rocky world go round”.  The bottle design is two things:  1)  It’s unique and from a pouring/display/coolness perspective it’s pretty awesome.  2)  It’s unique and from a storing multiple bottles perspective, it sucks.  Seriously the thing takes up so much room in a whiskey cabinet and in shelves, plastic bins, etc, that you really can’t keep too many of them.  But going back to the coolness, it’s unique design is what makes it so sought after.  It really is a beautiful bottle, despite it’s ba-donka donk.  And I swear these days OFBB has become as hard to get as Pappy.  The buzz over this bottle has been strong in Atlanta for weeks now.  Thankfully I got to try it before I bought it thanks to the fine folks at Brown-Forman.

2017 OFBB

Gotta be honest here, I’ve been drinking out of plastic cups for the past 6 weeks.  We have been renovating our kitchen and family room, and I stupidly packed up every glass I had in the house during the reno.  Not that I really care what I drink from, but I’ve learned you really can’t get much of a nose when drinking from plastic.  Everything smells the same if you take a big enough whiff.  Same thing applies here, it smells good, I just can’t pick up anything specifically

This year’s OFBB has 2 proofs, 96, and 95.6.  It’s normally bottled at 96, but they had some issue with proof and some of the bottles are 95.6.  My sample was 96 proof, but I’m in GA which is getting 95.6, so I’ll be interested to see if there is a difference.  What I can tell you is that the 96 is delicious.

At 96 proof, it’s a thicker than I expected, with a bold and spicy oak flavor that I absolutely love in a bourbon.  It’s not too spicy and not too hot, in fact, it’s pretty much perfect with just enough sweetness of caramel to balance it out.  It reminds me of something else that I have had, but I can’t really place what it is, I just know that I like it.  I had a few pours, each time I enjoyed it a little more.   That opinion was shared by two of my friends.  I love to share samples to make sure I’m not crazy, and they both agreed with me that it’s a hit this year.

The finish to me dropped off quicker than I wanted, but one of my friends let me know that it had a much better finish when he drank it last night from an actual bottle with an actual glass.  I’ll have to add the finish to the nose category as a consequence of drinking bourbon like I’m still in college.

The retail price on the OFBB this year is $89.99.  Although the release has been getting slight price increases every year, I still feel like it’s a good bargain when you start to look at all the releases in the Fall.  At retail, this is a must buy.  Nice work BF.  Can’t wait to try it in an actual glass.

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