Old Forester at a new level – Single Barrel Barrel Strength Hokus Pokus Ghost Select

I was starting to see pictures of store picks of Old Forester Single Barrel, but at “Barrel Strength” on the internet. I have always hoped that Chris Morris of Old Forester and Woodford Reserve would increase his cask strength offerings. Old Forester/Woodford manufactures and chars their own barrels, and produces great whiskies. However, this is the first cask strength Old Forester released, with Prohibition style being their highest proof offering up until now. But, given the demand for cask strength bourbon, Old Forester putting out a cask strength release at $60 a bottle, is definitely meeting the market. Hokus Pokus got a barrel and released this bottling today.

This bourbon weighs in at a healthy 129.6 proof, and was aged on the first floor of the warehouse and yet comes in at this high proof.

The color is an extremely dark amber, so while this is a non-aged stated bourbon, I would bet the age is anywhere from six to eight years. The nose is extremely rich, with dark caramel and oak. On the palate, dark rich deep notes of dark corn syrup sweetness, a dark caramel sauce taste that reminds me of an episode of Chopped where a contestant starts to burn a caramel sauce but takes it off right then and serves it anyway and it is delicious, some slight wood sugar notes that I find on Woodford Reserve, followed by oak that really crescendoes on this finish with a hint of cinnamon. The mouthfeel is thick and luscious. The finish is very lingering with a nice big Kentucky hug. This is a big bold bourbon that shows off how good Old Forester can be straight out of the barrel.

This is a perfect fall bourbon to celebrate Labor Day weekend and the delayed Kentucky Derby day, and a high proof bourbon to just help deal with 2020 as a whole and Hurricane Laura which hit my hometown very badly. If you can shop at a Hokus Pokus, this particular release is definitely worth picking up. But numerous retailers across the country and getting barrels of this, and they should be coming to a store near you.

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