Review: Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2023 Edition

Review: Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2023 Edition

The release of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon — now 23 years running — marks the unofficial start of whiskey season (never mind Four Roses sneaking into the schedule a couple days early), and today’s release of OldFo Birthday Bourbon 2023 is no exception. As has long been the case, this is a 12 year old whiskey drawn from some of the distillery’s best stocks (now selected by new master taster Melissa Rift), bottled to celebrate the birthday of Old Forester’s original creator, George Garvin Brown.

As was the case last year, if you want a bottle, you’ll need to sign up for Old Forester’s sweepstakes, which runs today through August 30. Per the company: “The sweepstakes allow consumers nationwide a more equal opportunity to purchase the limited-edition expression. No Birthday Bourbon bottles will be sold at the Old Forester Distillery in Louisville.” You can find details on Old Forester’s website, linked below.

I was able to snag an advance sample to bring you the highlights of what you can expect should you win a bottle. Good luck in the sweepstakes.

A deep and rich nose kicks things off — heavy with notes of peanut shell, some dill, and spice. A satay peanut sauce character emerges with time, propping up barrel char notes before fading to reveal a nicely sweet butterscotch quality later on. At this proof, the whiskey feels perfectly approachable, a lingering smokiness the only real sense of “heat” wafting from the glass.

While again not hot, the palate is boldly peppery, with some barbeque smoke and barrel char notes underneath. A touch of green — dill or sage — emerges before the whiskey takes a turn toward chocolate elements, here showcasing more of a milk chocolate Easter bunny quality. The lightly sweet body finishes to find an influence of toasted nuts, concluding with a punch of cola and cherry fruit.

All told, it’s a pleasant and moderately complex whiskey, and it stands as a high point among recent Birthday Bourbon releases, and I wouldn’t hesitate to throw my name into that lottery for the chance to buy a bottle at MSRP.

96 proof.


Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2023 Edition




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. SHELIA Allen on September 4, 2023 at 6:58 pm

    I have the 2013 edition never opened

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