Old Fine Whisky. As much as I hate admitting it, I’m a sucker for marketing. The entire Whiskey Row series from Old Fo’ has captivated our collective eye, and we’d be damned if we let the fact that the initial release was so limited stop us from getting a bottle.
So what’s the deal with the fourth and final expression in the Old Forester Whiskey Row series? From their website:
On October 22nd. 1910, a fire on the bottling line halted production of Old Forester. Mature whisky ready to be bottled, instead was stored in a secondary barrel. What emerged was a delightful whisky, remarkable enough to become an entirely new expressions – Old Fine Whisky.
Today mimicking this historic bottling, this unique expression of Old Forester has undergone a second barreling, granting it exceptional character, a smooth and sweet flavor and a clean, crisp finish. Entering the second barrel at a low 100 proof allows more of the sweet wood sugars to dissolve into the whiskey. 1910 Old Fine Whiskey is the fourth and final expression of the Whiskey Row Series, presented at 93 proof.
Happily receiving this package from the delivery folks, we tore into it with more than a little excitement. Happy to see the box arrived in perfect shape, and the juice was inside the glass, we set it on the bar to rest (things sitting outside in Maine tend to get cold!). Once reaching ambient temperature it was time to pop the top and have a pour. Let’s dig in…
Nose – Wow! Big sweet aromas punching directly up my nose. This is sitting around the campfire at the end of the summer, toasting marshmallows. Not just toasting them, either. Charring them up to the point where the four foot long maple branch in your hand is beginning to smoke. Caramel. Oak. Marshmallow again. Syrup, even…but not maple…straight up pancake syrup. Some fruit is present, but more in the sense that it’s “fruity” than any one particular fruit playing lead. There’s vanilla that comes through in a way that’s reminiscent of American brandy. Super interesting nose on this pour.
Taste – The first thing that grabs you is the mouthfeel. Then it doesn’t really let you go. It’s big, fat, and sweet. Brown sugar and charred oak mix with the same gigantic toasted marshmallow from the nose. The fruit doesn’t come through much, and that feels like a loss. Man, that mouthfeel. It’s sweet enough I’d dare call it cloying.
Finish – The Old Fine Whisky brings with it a long and luxurious finish. There’s really no ethanol anywhere in this pour, but the finish hangs on as though it were a higher proof expression. Soft, but strong. Vanilla and caramel are playing in concert with the fruit that didn’t stand out on the initial taste. Then the toasted marshmallow comes in and plays a duet with brown sugar. Not sure why so many band metaphors are being included in this one.
The Bourbon Finder Grade: C+
Thoughts – If we were restricted to a Twitter-length response, this one would likely be summed up by saying simply: while we love sweet notes in our bourbon, this is a bit heavy on the sweets for us. Since we only practice brevity occasionally, I’ll elaborate some…
This is a really unique and interesting expression from Old Forester, and although I don’t see many neat pours of this in a glass for myself, I think it’s a very fun bottle to have on the shelf. Before I’ve even finished my initial tasting I am already looking ahead to the holidays where I can see 1910 making multiple appearances. Maybe even in a decanter blend. All in all I’m glad to have a bottle of this, but I can see myself reaching past it for 1920 or even the Statesman on a more regular basis.
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Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is. Our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible, and as such we decided early on that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us. We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day. Pour a bit and enjoy, these are the good old days of whiskey!
I got into bourbon for the flavor and experiences associated with it. As I found more bourbon I enjoyed, the need to dive deeper into the history, brands, and technical side of things converted me into a total bourbon geek.