Birthday Bourbon 2015
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2015
100 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
12 Years Old
I took a look at the 2014 release of this bourbon a few months back. It’s a bourbon I really enjoyed right at first, and I gave it a nice review, but overall it wasn’t nearly as exciting to me as some of the other limited releases last Fall, that just goes to show you how much awesome whiskey this country is producing right now. When I found out they were upping the MSRP of this year’s Birthday Bourbon release (the 14th annual release) from $50 to $70, I was really wondering if it would even be worth it. However, Andrew got a phone call about one, and of course we jumped on it, you just don’t go around passing up a chance to get an awesome bottle of allocated bourbon!
Cracking this open, I didn’t know what to expect. The only tasting note I remembered at the time about last year’s was “lemon.” But I did know it was supposed to be much different from previous releases because, as Master Distiller Chris Morris explains: “This particular lot of barrels is unusual because it matured in the same warehouse location instead of multiple sites. The lot aged near a window and close to a heat cycling duct, exposing all of the barrels to very high temperatures, resulting in the very robust, intense wood-derived characteristics exhibited by this exceptional vintage.” Well, nosing this 2015 release for the first time I was absolutely blown away. I get big time toffee and almond, caramel, peanuts, cocoa and vanilla wafer, super sweet and nutty, like every candy bar ever made mashed together, and finally I get burnt chestnuts and whipped cream. I know that’s a lot of notes, but this nose really inspired all those names in my head, some so distinct I felt like they were right in front of me.
The palate begins with that lovely toffee but oak barrel char quickly swoops in, followed by chocolate and a dryer nuttiness like pecan skins. Rye comes through big time towards the end, spicy and nice, taking this whiskey from just being downright delicious to being very complex, and downright delicious. It’s a well balanced whiskey, hitting my tongue in all the right places. Medium length, hotter than desired finish (and I drink a lot of barrel proof whiskey just fine), but a finish I can forgive based on all this great flavor. Overall, I’m putting this in my top five best bourbons of the year, and I really didn’t see that coming.
This is a cold-weather-whiskey. I’d say this is ideally enjoyed in winter in front of a roaring fire after eating a huge dinner. Unfortunately, I have no fireplace, and this bottle will be gone by winter. Fortunately, at least I get to drink it through Fall!
Rating 9.6 / 10
Bought for $69.99 at Secret Bottle Shop in Secretsville, Tennessee.