Old Forester 86 Proof Review

Whiskey Name: Old Forester 86 proof

Distillery: Brown-Forman

Whiskey Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Release Date: General release

Price: £30

Age: NAS

ABV: 43% ABV

Mashbill: 72% corn, 18% rye, 10% malted barley)

Introduction/Background: Supermarkets are becoming more adventurous in their US whiskey selections lately. Granted there’s still not much that’ll raise the pulse of a long-in-the-tooth bourbonista, but it’s encouraging to see nonetheless.

One of the pours that has appeared on mainstream UK shelves lately is Old Forester. It’s a long in the tooth brand; the first bourbon to be exclusively available in bottle, which began in 1870 as a way of giving consumers a much-needed measure of confidence that their bourbon hadn’t been mucked about with.

One of the more talked-about pours on the BBS Facebook group at the moment is the Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style. In fact people won’t stop going on about it, which rather sticks in my craw, as it’s currently only available West of the Atlantic. Still, jealousy is a green-eyed monster and all that; let’s see whether their ‘house’ pour offers any consolation…

Appearance: Toffee fudge

Nose: Loads of bananas. And some butter. And some toffee. Banoffee all round! That’s about as far as it goes though, other than a very light touch of acetone which taps you on the shoulder and reminds you of youth. It’s also a very quiet nose by bourbon standards; I have to stick my snout much further into the glass than usual.

Mouth: Palate also feels very diluted. Not much body. The obvious bourbon flavours of caramel, vanilla and brown sugar are here, but this is pretty basic stuff. Nothing to get the blood pumping; rather thin on the whole.

Finish: If you strain really hard, a touch of coconut joins the flavours mentioned above. But only for a couple of seconds before everything goes.

Value for Money: There are better options.

Summary: It’s just a bit boring really. There are some awesome Old Forester whiskies, but this one doesn’t raise the pulse. It hasn’t really added anything to the UK supermarket scene, and tasting it next to the whiskey being reviewed tomorrow (no spoilers!) put it somewhat into context.

Overall Verdict: I am not moved. (Still want to try the 1920 though!)

Words by WhiskyPilgrim