Old Forester is the original brand for Brown-Forman and will be 150 years old in 2020. It has always been a Bourbon whiskey until now. Brown-Forman recently released their first Old Forester Rye whiskey. I like the whiskeys made by Brown-Forman and the Rye is no exception. It is a quality product at a reasonable price on line with the 100 proof Old Forester Bourbon. I am also impressed with the information given on the label to the consumer. This information includes the mash bill of 65% rye, 20% malted barley and 15% corn. I like the fact that they use so much malt in the whiskey. To me malt adds some important flavors to any whiskey that you just don’t get when enzymes are used to either supplement low malt or even no malt in the mash bill. It is also obvious that the same yeast used for Old Forester Bourbon is being used in the Rye. There is that characteristic banana note in the aroma. I find this whiskey an interesting blend of innovation and Old Forester tradition. A new mash bill with the whiskey made in the same stills as the Bourbon and aged in the Brown-Forman heat-cycled warehouses for four years.
Old Forester Rye
Age: No Age Statement
Nose: Rye grass, caramel, baking spices and banana fruit.
Taste: Rye grass with some ripe apple fruit, caramel and baking spices – cinnamon and nutmeg, with just a hint of oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the fruit is forced into the background while the baking spices and caramel come forward. Tasted with a pecan the spice becomes more of a pepper spice and more oak comes forward.
Finish: Long and dry with oak and cinnamon spice. The cranberry shortens the finish and the spices overcome the oak for a very spicy finish. The pecan once again makes it a spicy finish but it is peppery spice instead of cinnamon and nutmeg.
I am pairing this fine Rye with a Padron 1926 Maduro because I always taste a lot coffee/chocolate notes balanced by some earthy tobacco in its smoke. With the rye the smoke becomes less earthy and more mocha. The smoke brings out the rye grassiness with lots of vanilla and fruit in the Rye. It is a good pairing.
This is the first Rye whiskey made in the Old Forester line of brands and Brown-Forman has done an excellent job with this whiskey. I look forward to trying it in a Manhattan.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller