- 128.2 Proof
- Whse. G, Fl. 3
One thing that I've loved about the various barrel strength Old Forester bourbons that I've been lucky enough to come across is that they are a bolder and better version of Old Forester 100 proof for the most part, of course with variations from barrel to barrel. Certainly you pay a bit more, and they're not easy to find, but they deliver what you want out of such a product.
It wasn't that long ago that Old Forester released it's standard expression rye whiskey. That is a very nicely priced, and very delicious rye. However, I found it to be on the softer and the sweeter end of the rye whiskey spectrum. So when I found out about the release of the single barrel rye bottled at barrel strength, I wasn't sure exactly what I'd be getting, whether it'd just be a bolder and better version of their standard rye, or something very different. Well, I found it to be very different, though very good as well!
The nose was quite pungent, bull of rich and spicy cinnamon as well as a bold cherry note, like Maraschino cherries. There was a pastry note as well that leaned toward a cherry Danish aroma. I also got a little bit of anise or black licorice that added that sort of tangy quality you get from anise. It also had some black pepper spice to it as well.
The flavor was bold and punch, and it reminded me nothing of the standard Old Forester rye. This was a super cherry-forward rye. In fact, I got more cherry on this than I can ever recall getting from any other whiskey--rye, bourbon or otherwise. As the kids would say, this was a "cherry bomb." It wasn't that fake candy cherry, but it also wasn't that fresh-picked cherry note. It was more of a Luxardo cherry, dark and rich and almost syrupy.
I also got a light licorice note, much like I noticed on the nose. The cinnamon was there as well, along with a sweet caramel note. At times I noticed a sort of base layer of vanilla, but that note seemed to get crowded out fairly quickly.
On the finish, what I noticed most was the lack of alcohol burn. This rye came in at a pretty healthy proof, but it was far from a burner. Of course the pervasive cherry note was prominent on the finish as well, but that seemed to pair with a black pepper note and that caramel note to really leave a rich, slightly sweet and spicy finish.
This was one of the bolder and more punchy whiskeys I've had in a while, and what stood out the most was that strong cherry note. I have no idea why there was so much cherry influence here, but it was unmistakable. I do wish it had a bit more going on, that other flavors were allowed some room inside as well. But, what was there was delicious and bold and, again, nothing like the standard Old Forester rye.