Updated: Jan 22, 2021
1990s Old Forester
I have trouble with Old Forester. The 1950s and 1960s stuff I tried was aces. A handful of stuff from the 80s and 90s never played right for me. The oak was rough and they had trouble handling their proof - dropping flavor at 100+ proof, flattening out and getting astringent/acetone-y with dilution. Same could be said for most the Birthday Bourbon's I've tried and the first King of Kentucky release. Maybe it has something to do with the heat cycling warehouses after the move to Early Times DSP KY 354 (1979). The exception to this is the Whiskey Row 1920. I pulled this 1995 BiB off the shelf at an out of the way liquor store about 2 years ago. The nose showed promise. After the first glass, I put it back on the shelf and said, "Maybe it'll open up?" Well, this is its last chance.
Old Forester - ‘90s export - 43%
Nose: Oak-y and medicinal. Red apple. Floral vanilla. Decent amount going for the proof.
Flavor: Vanilla. Marshmallow. Oak. Light fruit. Notes dry out and get dusty in the finish.
Structure: Starts full, quickly moves thin and linear.
Alcohol Integration: Light. Drinks under proof.
Score: 4 (Not Complaining) Plenty of contemporary stuff in the 90 proof range will out drink this.
Old Forester Bonded - 1995 - 50%
Nose: Musty barrel. Soft caramels. Medicinal cherry. Oak gravitates drier toward the back. Musty and medicinal notes read dusty for me. Quality, old-school nose.
Flavor: Caramel. Cherry and oak that turns super medicinal by the mid. Finish is long, dry and aggressive.
Structure: Thinner and more linear than I expected for a '90s BiB.
Alcohol Integration: Drinks over proof and loses its grip.
Score: 5 (Acceptable) Never calmed down even after keeping it open ~2 years. Finish and structure really hurt it.
You May Also Dig:
Dry, punchy, slightly dusty bourbon
Wild Turkey 101 (late 90s/early aughts)
10 - Reevaluate The Budget
9 - Stash Two (If Able)
8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)
7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers
6 - Solid - Above Average
5 - Acceptable For The Situation
4 - Not Vocally Complaining
3 - Anything Else To Drink?
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour