This bottling from a few years ago is one that I had my mind set on since last week. That’s not long at all, but there’s a bit of a story there.
A little while ago, with an exponentially growing enthusiasm, I’ve become interested in bourbon again. Contrary to a few months ago when I thought I was quite done with the style.
This happened because I tried some different versions in various tastings I participated in or tasting sets I bought. As it turns out, to keep enthusiastic about something, you have to keep feeding it. I hadn’t been, apart from ‘the cheap options’.
Now in those tastings I tried some amazing whiskeys, bourbons, ryes, even American blended whiskeys, which I never expected to like. A footnote is that this one was bottled in the early seventies, with distillate from the sixties. Not your regular bottom shelf hooch.
Then, a short while ago, I discovered the Youtube channel ‘Bourbon Junkies‘ and I’ve been absorbing their style and content like a sponge. Unfortunately, virtually everything they review is either not available in Europe, or so ridiculously expensive that it could just as well have been unavailable.
What they named an affordable, available bourbon that scores exceptionally well for its price level was this Old Forester ‘1920 Prohibition Style’ bourbon. In the USA it’s available for $ 55. In Europe it’s available for $165.
Then, as luck and planning would have it, I went to De Whiskykoning to pick up some stuff I had set aside there, and we got to chatting about this very pricing phenomenon.
Rob, the owner of the place, then told me he used to have that bottle, and that he had samples available. Obviously I bought a sample. I don’t know why I didn’t buy ALL the samples, but that has since been corrected.
Now, let’s see what all the fuss (I created) is about.
Right after pouring it the sweet and oaky notes start filling the room. Apart from sweetness and oak there are quite some wood spices. Some clove, some nutmeg. There’s some stone fruit too, like peaches. Slightly creamy, and not too punchy for the ABV.
The palate does show more of the punch from the alcohol, with quite an astringent kind of wood. Oak shavings, some furniture wax, but still with the peaches and cream. The dryness doesn’t give way anytime soon, although there is a little bit more sweetness than on the arrival. It shows some black pepper too.
The finish is a little bit hot, but that’s not really a surprise. The pepper and the oaky dryness show a little bit more and linger quite a while.
Well, now I understand what the fuss is about and this is a rather cracking bourbon. I love that it’s dry enough to show some character and is not ‘just sweet’. The sweetness is there, but the oak and the alcohol keep that in check.
This is not a $ 165 bourbon, but I’d gladly pay money for this. It’s really, really good.
Old Forester ‘1920 Prohibition Style’, 57.5%. Check availability here