Old Forester’s standard rye, which launched in 2019, is a fine, versatile product. But what if a mere 100 proof doesn’t do it for you? Why, pump it up to Old Forester Single Barrel Rye, a cask strength expression of what is otherwise extremely self-explanatory. (The mash remains 65% rye, 20% malted barley, and 15% corn; no age statement.)
What does roughly triple the price get you?
This is a blazing hot whiskey, so give it a little time for its essence to materialize with more clarity. Once it opens up a bit, you’ll find a classic, almost iconic rye character to contend with: peppery and well-spiced with cinnamon and cloves, featuring undertones of baked apples and well-caramelized sugar. The palate is again quite hot, and water helps a lot to temper the beast, allowing the fruit to shine but also revealing that classically bready rye character, layered with notes of white pepper, lemon cream, and vanilla. It’s creamy, almost silky as the palate develops further — at least with a splash of water in it — and there’s no shortage of enjoyment in the glass here, culminating in a lingering note of spiced chocolate on the finish.
Ultimately, I’m not sure this adds much over the already outstanding Old Forester Rye — as expected, aside from the proof the two whiskeys have an awful lot in common — but it’s certainly a well-crafted whiskey that should feel at home in any upscale bar, home or otherwise. That said, for everyday drinking, you can’t beat the 100 proof version.
A- / $80 / oldforester.com