Verdict: Good value for the money
Old Forester, like all great brands, has an interesting history. It has been on the market since 1873 and is touted as the longest continuously marketed bourbon. During Prohibition (1920 – 1933) it was one of the 10 brands that could legally produce liquor (for medicinal purposes only, of course). It was also the first bourbon to come in a bottle. Before that bourbon was delivered in barrels and served from decanters.
I tried Old Forester at my friend’s man cave last night. It was the only bourbon he had and the garage (complete with a replica “leg lamp” from A Christmas Story) was a perfect venue for our mission.
It was a really hot night so we decided that adding a few ice cubes was appropriate. The bourbon itself had a good color and medium body. The taste was very subtle – not too sharp and not a lot of sweetness. You get a hint of oak and some interesting spices, but the flavors are really delicate. Although I typically like a bit more sweetness in my bourbons, the ice cubes mellowed the flavor after a few minutes which made it very drinkable.
The bottle design was apparently updated recently and, although this version is more contemporary than the previous, it doesn’t knock me over. I would love to see the labeling simplified.
All and all, I would consider Old Forester a good basic bourbon. It’s a great value for the money and it would be a fine choice for a casual cocktail or a hot night in the garage.