- 86 Proof
There are only a handful of entry-level bourbons on the shelves that I haven't yet had an opportunity to review, but Old Forester was one that, for whatever reason, I just never got around to. At just over $20 for the bottle, though, it was a no-brainer to at least give it a go.
The nose, aside from the traditional bourbon notes, had a distinct burnt sugar mixed with alcohol smell to it. It's an 86 Proof bourbon, so I was caught a bit off-guard by the strong presence of the alcohol.
My first impression upon taking my first sip was that this is a watery bourbon, and, despite that it came across as a young bourbon, also seemed woody, having that dryness that older bourbons tend to have. It also came across as a brown sugar heavy bourbon, with undertones of cherry, a combination that reminded me a bit of Woodford Reserve.
A couple pours in I started to take note of additional flavors. Most noticeably, the burnt sugar flavor I noticed on the nose finally made an appearance, mixing well with the brown sugar to create a sweet but lightly charred flavor that was quite enjoyable.
There was also a smokey, herbal quality to it that I couldn't quite place my tongue on. It had a kind of a cigar tobacco flavor, sharp and earthy. However, this flavor did not seem to stick around very long, being almost fleeting and difficult to place.
In the end, while I found the different flavors that seemed to come forward in this bourbon interesting, particularly with respect to the contrast between the sugary sweet flavors and the smokey, herbal flavors, I didn't find them particularly enjoyable. The flavors didn't complement each other very well. Among the entry-level bourbons, I found this one to be just average, hence the grade.