Old Forester is the flagship brand of Brown-Forman. It is the brand created by founder George Garvin Brown in 1870. It is the first Bourbon to be sold only by the bottle in the age where most whiskey was sold out of the barrel with only local retailers bottling a few bottles to sell to customers without their own flask or bottle. This was to ensure the quality of the Bourbon in the bottle and George Garvin Brown guaranteed this quality with his signature on the bottle’s label.
Old Forester Signature plays upon this heritage and George Garvin brown’s signature. It is a 100 proof version of the brand. It is a mixture of 4-8 years old Bourbon matured in the heat cycled warehouses in Shively, Kentucky. It is 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malted barley in the mash bill and Brown-Forman’s Master Distiller Chris Morris is proud to tell you that mash bill. Chris is also happy to talk about their strain of yeast and any other step they take to make this Bourbon. Chris is rightly proud of the Old Forester brand and in my opinion Signature is one of the best of the fine lot.
Old Forester Signature
Nose: Caramel, apples and a hint of banana with some spice notes and oak.
Taste: Caramel and apples with a bit of pepper spice. The banana comes out towards the end just before the oak tannins kick in. Tasted with a dried cranberry brings forward the vanilla and apple flavors and tames the spice. A pecan picks up the spice presence and enhances the oak muting the fruit and caramel.
Finish: Starts a little brandy like with some fruit but quickly dries out with oak and pepper spice. A dried cranberry takes the pepper away but leaves a nice oak dryness that is quite good. A pecan gives the Bourbon a very spicy, peppery finish.
Notes: I know Old Forester Signature goes quite well with fresh fruit – peaches in particular. I have some fresh cherries today so I thought I would add that to the mix. The cherry makes the Bourbon very creamy with vanilla and brings out some of the banana flavors on the taste. It makes the finish less dry but still some oak and spice and notes of vanilla. I also like this Bourbon with a good cigar. My favorite is the Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Diplomatico. The Bourbon really brings the coffee and chocolate out in the smoke.
Photos Courtesy of Michael Veach