As the final member of the Old Forester Whiskey Row series, Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky is one of those rare sequels that are better than the original. Let’s not mince words here: Old Forester 1910 just might be the best bottle the brand makes, especially at the end of a long day or a long meal.
The Whiskey Row series is a set of tweaks to the Old Forester recipe, representing some particular change or alteration or significant historical event that the brand has experienced since its inception. Old Forester 1910 is a nod to a special batch of Old Forester whiskey made that year. A fire shut down bottling for a short time, and until they could process whiskey again, a large batch that had been put in a tank to be filled was instead relocated back to barrels for several months while the bottling line was rebuilt.
Old Fine Whisky builds on that event by double barreling ready-to-bottle Old Forester a second time in new barrels which have been, by all accounts, scorched to the limits. Technically, this is still a bourbon, because it went into another new, charred, oak barrel. But we’ll leave that debate for the comments.
What does this second, burnt-to-a-crisp barrel do to the bourbon? For starters, it gives it great toasted flavors. This isn’t a peated or smoked whiskey by any stretch, but the typical sweetness of burnt sugar and vanilla that Old Forester is expected to deliver has these gorgeous coffee and dark chocolate notes, especially on the finish. Like Michter’s Toasted Barrel Bourbon that we wrote about earlier this year, this whiskey seems almost by default to fit perfectly as a dessert pairing (and, with the right vermouth, it makes an incredible Manhattan).
The word “smoke” tends to send some whiskey lovers running for the emergency exits, and we get that, but this isn’t one of those experiences. This whiskey has as much “smoke” character so much as char, which most of us will agree is good on vegetables, steaks, marshmallows—anything you can cook over a fire. This whiskey just takes advantage of those same techniques, with a barrel that’s seared but still has a ton of flavor that really layers onto your tongue.
1910 is very similar in look to the 1920 bottle released nearly two years ago. Both have the same shape, and both sport blue labels, so when you go looking for this one, you’ll need to actually read the labels, because otherwise you’ll end up with a bottle of one of our other favorite bourbons on the market today.
At 93 proof, we don’t think this needs a drop of water to be enjoyed, but you may want to jump into the deep end with cocktails, because it lends itself particularly well to mixing. At $55, we’re sure if makes a great one—if you can wrestle the bottle out of our hands.