Old Forester 1897 Bottled-in-Bond
Taste Score: 87
Category: Bourbon, Bottled-in-Bond, NAS
Whisky Cabinet Score: ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Released as part of Old Forester's Whiskey Row series, the 1897 honors the Bottled-in-Bond Act and the old way of making whisky. Old Forester doesn't always get lot of love from whisky enthusiasts, but these new product releases seem intended to attract today's whisky drinker. This release definitely seems designed to bring enthusiasts willing to pay for premium bourbon back to the Old Forester brand.
As noted before, whisky enthusiasts are moving away from smooth bourbons. Instead, they want a whisky that has aggressive flavor. Old Forester picked a winning product from this standpoint. These are classic bourbon flavors without the minutiae of complex bourbons. It's a hot, flavored forward bourbon that you sip with ease.
The drawbacks to this whisky is its entrance to a competitive marketplace. Old Forester 1897 could use a little more time, and a little more love, but I do enjoy that it takes an obvious strong stand in terms of flavor. There's a right time for this whisky.
Nose: Thick caramel, dark fruits, raisins, and some leather.
Palate: Sharp youthful whisky start, with an intense growth of spice and caramel sweetness. Dark fruit and honey are evident, but overall, the flavor profile is very straight-forward bourbon.
Conclusion: A big bourbon in a competitive marketplace for its price-point. Tastes a touch too youthful in maturation, but brings a wallop of flavour. While this is a deafening bourbon, it enters a competitive marketplace with some big players like Four Roses Single Barrel, Knob Creek, and Russell's Reserve. If this was a hatchback matchup for the $50 price-point, this would be the brash car you could toss around into corners with delight but it lacks some refinement as a day-to-day driver. There's nothing wrong with that.
*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original