This 12th edition of Old Forester’s Birthday Bourbon doesn’t offer much in the way of data, but it’s 12 years old and very limited in quantity.
Lots of wood here; that’s evident from the get-go. The nose is classic, older Bourbon stock — wood-driven, but filled with lots of baking spice and vanilla notes. On the tongue, more where that came from, with an initially sweet rush, followed by cloves, baked apples, and more vanilla pastry character. The finish brings the wood back, plus a surprising amount of alcohol, although this has never been an incredibly hot spirit.
All in all, OldFo ’13 is in line with many of the previous bottlings, driven more by the barrel than the grain, and that’s something that will appeal to fans of older stock. Those seeking balance will find this a bit hoary (though I do have a soft spot for the butterscotch notes that come out after it’s had plenty of time to aerate in the glass).
Sample at 98 proof (OldFo says the final version will be bottled at 97 proof).
B+ / $55 / oldforester.com
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