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Old Forester reveals 17th Birthday Bourbon

Brown-Forman has announced the 17th release of its Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, the annual limited edition expression released in homage to its founder George Garvin Brown. The new release will be available across the US from September 2.


The 2017 Birthday Bourbon barrel selection was drawn from 12 year old barrels from different warehouses and floors on May 27, 2005. 93 barrels matured together on the 4th floor of G warehouse, which the company claims yields an extremely spice forward expression. The remaining 27 barrels matured together on the 5th floor of K warehouse, which the company claims contributes to a rounding sweetness to the blend. Several barrels from both lots basked in the sun, highlighting the effects of maturation along an external wall in Old Forester’s heat cycled warehouses.

During the transfer of bourbon from the holding tank to the bottling line, alcohol vapours were lost during bottling, causing the proof to drop. As a result, this year's Birthday Bourbon will be presented at both 96 proof and 95.4 proof. This distinction is identifiable in the proof statements on the bottle.

The 2017 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon will be on shelves with a suggested retail price of $79.99. Florida and Georgia will receive the 95.4 proof expression and remaining states will receive the 96 proof expression. Kentucky is the only state which will receive both expressions with the 96 proof expression shipping first.

Master taster Jackie Zykan says: “The common denominators in this year's blend are chocolate and black pepper. The finish is interesting, as it really ignites the perimeters of the palate and cascades off into a soft, dry floral bouquet.”

21 August 2017 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, news editor