I am a member of a number of bourbon and whiskey groups on Facebook, and there has been a lot of hype about the re-release of the fifth release of Old Forester’s Whiskey Row series, the 1910 Old Fine Whisky. While I love Old Forester’s Prohibition and Bottled in Bond releases from the series, and even featured the Bottled in Bond in a recent bourbon tasting I moderated, I have to admit I didn’t buy Old Fine Whisky when it first came out. It’s only 93 proof, and it just didn’t strike me as a must buy.
But, the bourbon groups have all gone crazy over this re-release, and when given the opportunity to buy one, I did to see what the fuss is all about. The big deal with Old Fine is that it is double barrelled, with a back story that in 1910 a bottling line broke down so they had to re-barrel some bourbon for temporary storage. In any event, unlike Brown Forman’s Woodford Rerserve Double Oaked which is aged first in heavily charred barrels and then lightly charred heavily toasted barrels, Old Fine is aged and finished in heavily charred barrels.
Color is a nice deep amber, but nothing impressively old about it. Nice thick film and gravity defying legs, despite the low proof. I attribute this to the fact that this bourbon went into the second barrel at 100 proof, and given that there may have been water evaporation during the finishing, this water has not been proofed down very much. On the nose is rich vanilla, burnt caramel, and oak. The nose is very complex and inviting. The palate is very much an oak bomb, together with heavily caramelized sugar and Caribbean vanilla. On the finish, I pick up a s’mores note – a hint of cinnamon graham cracker and toasted marshmallow, and then drying oak. Mouthfeel is fairly thick despite the low proof, and I have to admit this bourbon is very flavorful, again, despite the low proof.
This is a very nice bourbon. I prefer my bourbons at higher proof, but this really has nice flavors, and like its Bottled in Bond and Prohibition Style brethren, I could see putting this bourbon in a tasting. I am not unhappy with the $55 price point. I would recommend it for people just getting into bourbon as there is a ton of flavor despite the low proof.
But, is this bourbon worth the hype that it is apparently receiving because of its rarity? Well, good on Brown Forman for creating this hype by limiting the release of this bourbon as they are going to sell every bottle they make of this, and quickly. Take heart, dear friends, if you don’t happen to score a bottle of this. Just pick up a bottle of the readily available Bottled in Bond or Prohibition Style bourbons from the Old Forester Whiskey Row series.
This is good. But it’s not a unicorn. There, I said it.