View Full Version : OId Forester 100 proof--is it BIB?

01-16-2004, 23:28
I decided to buy my first bottled-in-bond bourbon. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif I thought the shelf tag on this Old Forester said "bonded." http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif I just opened it and can't seem to find a "bonded" reference on the bottle. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif Did I pick up the wrong one?

01-17-2004, 07:19
I have heard people on these forums refer to OF BIB many times. But, OF 100-proof is one of my favorite bourbons (to the tune of several bottles a year and an occasional 1.75L) and I have never seen any reference to "bonded" or "bottled in bond" on any of my bottles.

Maybe the product is different in different states, but I doubt it.


01-17-2004, 09:33
We finished the tasting off with a sample of currently made Old Forester, a bourbon which meets all the criteria for bonded whiskey (although it no longer is stored in bonded warehouses and doesn’t use the term on the label any longer). Always one of our personal favorites, today’s Old Forester is every bit as fine a bourbon as any of the classics we tried, and considerably better than some.

I came across this quote on a web site this morning.

Regards, jimbo

01-17-2004, 10:14
Be assured Old Forester Bonded does exist, I bought a bottle in Miami Beach recently for about $17.00.

The name "Bonded" was printed prominently on the label.

It was good but not special value for the money. It was 4 years old and showed that in a somewhat raw, monochrome palate. Recently I had (different samples) of Woodford Reserve. I doubt tasting them blind I could tell the difference. The reason I bought the Forester Bonded was because of reports here last year that it was superlative. After, a number of posters felt it had fallen off in quality. My bottle looked very recent and likely was this newer production. I think it would have been better two or three years older. If anyone lives in south Florida near the Beach, I bought this at a small package store between Collins and Washington, on 13th street or one up or down from there. It was on the north side of the street, easy to spot as one walks up Collins or Washington on the near side.


01-17-2004, 10:29
Here's a picture I snagged off the web:

01-17-2004, 13:50
Okay, then. I believe you. But, I am certain that I have never seen it like that.


01-17-2004, 13:52
And now, I have to believe it. That is not what they sell in Alabama. Here, it is just 100-proof Old Forester.


01-17-2004, 13:53
And I agree with it!


01-18-2004, 10:37
According to Chris Morris at Brown-Forman, Old Forester is still entitled, legally, to call itself a bond but they dropped the term because they didn't think it was meaningful to most consumers.

He also said they have considered bringing it back, so maybe that's what people have seen. On the other hand, bottles can stay on the shelf for years, so the "bonded" bottles may simply be old stock.

It's also possible that some distributor requested a "bonded" product and the manufacturer complied.

Here in Chicago, what I see on the shelves is OF 100-proof, not "bonded."

01-18-2004, 15:41
I was disappointed in the Old Forester Bonded I bought in Miami Beach. There was nothing wrong with it, clearly it was well made, just too young.

In terms of classic bonded bourbons, perhaps the Old Grandad BOB still has a rich character.

Would anyone be minded to give taste notes of this bourbon if in their bunker?


01-19-2004, 08:53
Thanks, I knew something was different with OF100 in the last two half gal bottles. And 'it's young' is the answer. They're just filling up the jugs. Well, must find another every day pour.

01-21-2004, 14:46
I don't know if OF100 is too young; i talked with Chris Morris this fall when he was in Atlanta and he told me that it was nine years old. OF86 is six years old, and of course OFBB is 13 years old.

01-21-2004, 15:52
I don't follow what you mean when you say, "of course" OFBB is 13 years old. Do you mean, Chris Morris told you that expressly?


01-21-2004, 16:15
I think he means 'of course' because on the original release of OFBB it said "distilled in 1989 - bottled in 2002" right on the neckband. And on the fall/spring releases both said (on the neckband as well) distilled in 1990 - bottled in 2003. Thus far, all 3 releases have been 13 year products.

01-21-2004, 16:41
Oh sorry, this is my misunderstanding. I thought he was referring to bonded Old Forester, not Birthday Bourbon. Again, my mistake.


01-21-2004, 16:46
This is probably a silly question, but, if the actual full dates of distillation and bottling are not stated, just the years, isn't it possible the whiskey is as much as one year less than the difference in years? Say a whiskey was distilled in September, 1990, and bottled in March, 2003. Then it would be 12.5 years old really, but be sold as 12 years old, since the age has to be a whole number, with no fractional stuff. Certainly, if a whiskey label says xx years old, then I assume the whiskey is at LEAST that old, but if only the distillation and bottling years are given, the whiskey might be as much as a year younger (rounded up) than just the difference in years of distillation and bottling. Cheers, Ed

01-21-2004, 16:56
To my understanding, if a label says 12 years old the bourbon inside HAS to be at least 12 years old by law. The bourbon inside the bottle could even be 13 years,14 years or anything higher but it has to be at minimum what the label says. (As was/is the case with VWFR Rye) I'm just guessing here, but if a product is say 12 years and 6 months old I think they would have to say it is 12 years old and would not be allowed to write 13 years old. Maybe Julian could clear this up if he see's this post. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

01-21-2004, 17:09
I completely agree. But there is no actual requirement that bourbon more than 4 years old has to actually state the age on the bottle, right? The Regans, in their "The Bourbon Companion", on p. 24, state "We have only one small quibble with the Evan Williams vintage bottling: Each bottle bears the date on which it was distilled, but not the date on which it was bottled - we want to know the age of the whiskey." So, even if the bottling date was given, the age could be the difference in bottling and distillation dates, or a year less, if only the two years were given. Is this right? Cheers, Ed
Ps. If you need an excuse to gaze upon your magnificent bourbon collection and get some empirical data, we won't mind! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

01-22-2004, 15:33
I've got a Signatory Macallan bottling that's aged 27 years 11 months, and they still call it a 27 year old whisky... so there is definitely no rounding up going on.

01-22-2004, 16:40
Sorry, I guess I'm not being clear. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif There is no rounding up of 27 years and 11 months to 28 years and that is not at all what I was getting at.
Take an example: suppose you have a bourbon distilled some time in 1990 and bottled some time in 2000. The actual full dates are not on the label. Then, is it legally 10 years old? Depends. If the bottling date, not just year, is later in it respective year than the dislillation date is in its own respective year, then the bourbon is 10 years old. But otherwise it's only 9 years old.
If the distillation date was, say, December 2, 1990, and the bottling date was January 2, 2000, then the bourbon would be only a little over 9 years old. Actually, it would be 9 years and one month old. If the label stated the age, which is evidently not required for bourbons older than 4 years old, it would have to say 9 years old. No problem. Everyone agrees on this.
But the label does not have to state the age. Instead, the label can just give the years of distillation and bottling, not full dates, and the consumer subtracts them, getting 10, which is 1 year too high in this case. So the bottler did nothing wrong, but the consumer assumed, based on nothing, that the age of the bourbon was just year of bottling minus year of distillation. That's the problem: the consumer did the rounding up that the bottler could not legally do.
Whenever I have seen any whiskey (or whisky) with only years of distillation and bottling, I subtract and then take off another year, because otherwise I would have falsely rounded up the age of the stuff. Hope this is clearer! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif Cheers, Ed

01-22-2004, 22:36
Ten years means ten years (or more), not nine years 11 months.

01-23-2004, 01:17
The rules at HH for labeling of the product. If the product is 4 years old, the label will NOT have a age statement. If the product is 6 years old that statement is somewhere on that bottle. Same with the rest 7 year, 10 year, 28 year etc.

There is no such thing as rounding off. If the label states ten years old, the bourbon inside the bottle is ten years old. The age can go over but not under. If anyhthing, your are getting product older than stated.

The law requires that the product can go over the age limit but not under. The government men come to visit quite often, unannounced, go where ever, grab whatever, and literally check the place inside out, to make sure that we are bottling legally.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

01-23-2004, 05:36
Thanks for the very thoughtful replies, but, unfortunately, they do not answer my question. I guess I'm being spectacularly unclear, because we all agree that IF an age statement is on the label, the whiskey in the bottle is AT LEAST that old. No problem with this at all, we all agree about this, BUT it is not what I am wondering about at all.

This is the deal: suppose that an age statement is NOT on the bottle. Here is a specific example, for a bottle of "foreign" whiskey I have right in front of me:

Distilled: 1976
Bottled: 1998
There is no age statement anywhere on the label.

So how old is the whiskey? I think the answer is 1998 - 1976 - 1 = 21 years old. Not 22 years old (which is simply 1998 - 1976). Reason: the whiskey might have been distilled late in the year in 1976 and bottled early in the year in 1998. In that case, which we can't rule out, the whiskey is less than 22 years old, hence would legally be 21 years old. That age of 21 years is what would be put on the bottle's label, IF THE BOTTLER CHOSE TO DO SO, but in this case he did not. I have no idea why the bottler chose not to put the age on the label, or the actual full dates of distillation and bottling. Maybe the actual distillation date information is lost. I don't know. But the upshot is that a consumer could come along, see the bottle on the shelf, say "Ah, it's 22 years old!", even though it is legally only 21 years old. Nothing illegal, but possibly a bit sharp.
I hope this clarifies what I am asking about! Cheers, Ed

01-23-2004, 09:51
Well, presumably the bottler knows the dates of both distilling and bottling, so would put the proper age on the label if he were to add an age statement. I think you may be right though, it might be a little trick they use when they can make the whiskey look older without coming out and saying it is.


01-23-2004, 11:00
Perhaps this excerpt will be of assistance Ed. Find the whole doc here: BATF Regs (http://www.straightbourbon.com/27cfr5.pdf)

§5.40 Statements of age and percentage.

(a) Statements of age and percentage for whisky.
In the case of straight whisky bottled in conformity with the bottled in bond labeling
requirements and of domestic or foreign whisky, whether or not mixed or blended, all
of which is 4 years old or more, statements of age and percentage are optional. As to
all other whiskies there shall be stated the following:
(1) In the case of whisky, whether or not mixed or blended but containing no
neutral spirits, the age of the youngest whisky. The age statement shall read
substantially as follows: "___ years old."
(2) In the case of whisky, containing neutral spirits, if any of the straight whisky
and/or other whisky is less than 4 years old, the percentage by volume of straight
whisky and/or other whisky, and the age of the straight whisky (the youngest if
two or more) and the age of such other whisky (the youngest if two or more). If all
the straight whisky and/or other whisky is 4 years or more old, the age and
percentage statement for such whiskies is optional. The age and percentage
statement for straight whiskies and/or other whisky, whether required or optional,
shall be stated in immediate conjunction with the neutral spirits statement
required by §5.39, and shall read substantially as follows:
(i) If only one straight whisky and no other whisky is contained in the blend:
"__ percent straight whisky __ years old."
(ii) If more than one straight whisky and no other whisky is contained in the
blend: "__ percent straight whiskies __ years or more old." The age blank
shall be filled in with the age of the youngest straight whisky. In lieu of the
foregoing, a statement may be made of the ages and percentages of each of
the straight whiskies contained in the blend: "__ percent straight whisky __
years old, __ percent straight whisky __ years old, and __ percent straight
whisky __ years old."
(iii) If only one straight whisky and one other whisky is contained in the blend:
"__ percent straight whisky __ years old, __ percent whisky __ years old."
(iv) If more than one straight whisky and more than one other whisky is
contained in the blend: "__ percent straight whiskies __ years or more old, __
percent whiskies __ years or more old." The age blanks shall be filled in with
the ages of the youngest straight whisky and the youngest other whisky. In
lieu of the foregoing, a statement may be made of the ages and percentages
of each of the straight whiskies and other whiskies contained in the blend: "__
percent straight whisky __ years old, __ percent straight whisky __ years old,
__ percent whisky __ years old, and __ percent whisky __ years old."
(3) In the case of imported whiskies described in §5.22(l), Class 12, the labels
shall state the ages and percentages in the same manner and form as is required
for the same type of whisky produced in the United States.
(4) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this paragraph, in the case of
whisky produced in the United States and stored in reused oak containers,
except for corn whisky, and for light whisky produced on or after January 26,
1968, there shall be stated in lieu of the words "__ years old" the period of
storage in reused oak containers as follows: "__ stored __ years in reused
(5) Optional age statements shall appear in the same form as required age

01-23-2004, 12:32
Hello to my fellow bourbon enthusiasts. This is my
first post so bear with me.It is my pleasure to be among
all of you.

I am a fan of Old Forester 100 and none of my bottles state
BIB. It is my impression from speaking to an East Coast
supplier of Old Forester that the whiskey is indeed older than the 4 years stated on the label. I was told it was
8 years old. I was also told that they ferment the mash longer? Could this be true? As for the BIB the bonded warehouse theory was the reason given to me, although
I read above that Chris Morris at BF gives a different

Also I was told that Old Forester distributed the Fall
Birthday Bourbon to certain states and the Spring version
to other states,no states received both versions. Is this correct? I had great difficulty obtaining the Fall version
as Maryland was alotted only the Spring '90. However,I was
in New York this past weekend and although Park Ave Liquors believed they only carried the Spring bottle, they and I were surprised that the new shipment that just arrived was indeed the Fall version.

01-23-2004, 15:16
You are having a problem getting a precise response to your question because you are asking a question about (presumably) scotch in a bourbon forum, and the situation you describe simply doesn't happen with bourbon labeling.

The law and practice with bourbon is as has been amply described here already. I would only add that labels have to be registered and approved so if you decide to put "8 years old" on your label, you have committed yourself to putting nothing in those bottles that is less than 8 years old for as long as you use that label. Getting labels registered and approved is a time consuming and costly process, so makers try to do it as seldom as possible.

It's arguable that the regs prohibit, for any whiskey sold in the US, the type of label you describe, since the form for age statements is dictated as "The age statement shall read substantially as follows: '___ years old.'" However, it could be argued that the information you described is not an "age statement" per se and since age statements are optional except in the specific case of straight whiskey aged less than four years, there's nothing wrong with providing that information in that form.

The only situation in which this would be a problem would be if a bourbon label said "distilled 1999, bottled 2003," since that would give the impression that the whiskey might be four years old (and, therefore, wouldn't require an age statement) but it might be younger, although again one could argue that if, in fact, the whiskey is more than four years old, then a form-correct age statement is optional and this label is legal. It only would be illegal if the whiskey were actually less than four years old and then a form-correct age statement would be required.

Speaking directly to the situation you describe, I wouldn't consider that sharp practice. If one supposes the whiskey is 22 years old when, in fact, it is 21 years and 7 months, so what? Maturity is a function of more than raw age (in whiskey no less than in people). If someone tells you they can taste the difference between 21 years and 22 years in wood, slap them.

The facts stated on the label are (presumably) accurate. More precise dating likely would be either cumbersome or impossible, given normal dumping and bottling practices. Only single barrel products can really provide that type of precision.

01-23-2004, 15:33
Many thanks for the responses, which I think have answered my question just fine! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif I'm glad to hear that bourbon does not have this kind of situation (no explicit age statement on the label, just years of distillation and bottling). http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif Cheers, Ed V. BTW, apologies for that "foreign" stuff example: it was the only bottle I have seen with this kind of info on it, so I started wondering about its age. It was also purchased in the USA, so evidently it is legit, at least for its category.

01-23-2004, 16:42
I'm glad to hear that bourbon does not have this kind of situation (no explicit age statement on the label, just years of distillation and bottling).

I hate to throw a wrench into this closure , but this situation *CAN* happen with bourbon products. Check your OFBB '02 bottle: Nowhere (including the PR pamphlet) is there an age statement of any kind, just the distillation year and bottling year. So Ed's scenario of 'short-changing' could possibly occur here. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/skep.gif

01-23-2004, 16:49
First let me say welcome to the board, dgonano.

I was also told that they ferment the mash longer? Could this be true?

I don't know the jest of what you were told , but once the yeast stops working that's it.Generally that's a 3 day affair. Only of late did I become aware that Maker's claims to Send the fermented mash to the still with some potential alcohol left in the Mash ( fermentation incomplete). They claim at a lower yield they get a better product and is one of the reason's Maker's is Better than other brands. I also know that Wild Turkey lets the fermentation run its' full Course.

Also I was told that Old Forester distributed the Fall
Birthday Bourbon to certain states and the Spring version
to other states,no states received both versions. Is this correct

Not so for Kentucky, we got both versions. Good find on the Fall I give it the go ahead over the Spring and I like the Spring a lot.

Hope this helps and again Welcome! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

01-23-2004, 16:58
Ah, well, all I can say is ARRGGHH! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/banghead.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/banghead.gif But, seriously, thanks for the information on the OFBB 02 situation. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif Funny how complicated these rules and regulations turn out to be. Anyway, I think I'm done going down that dark alley ... Cheers, Ed

01-23-2004, 19:52
See my review of Kentucky Pride in the Tasting forum for a related situation. However, in that case they understated the age by more than a full year.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield (The Original "DaveM")

01-24-2004, 10:50
Kentucky Pride

Age Stated as 10 years; however, the neck label states that it was put into the barrel on 3-14-86 and bottled on 9-21-98.

Nice example! We know that the 10 years old means the bourbon is at least that old. So the difference between the two dates is about 12.5 years and the 10 years old age statement is fine. Another possibility, though, is that a bourbon can be dumped from its cask(s) into some sort of tank (like the Hirsch 16 and 20 presumably were) and then get bottled later on, whenever the bottler gets around to it. Then the age statement refers to how long the bourbon was aging in the cask, rather than to the difference in bottling and distillation dates. In the case of, say, Hirsch 16, the label says it was distilled in the Spring of 1974 and is 16 years old. But the last bottles were only bottled last Fall and the bourbon was definitely not in casks since 1974: that would make it a whopping 29 years old! I wonder when it was taken out of the casks? Anyone know? On another note, any one know the world record oldest bourbon? Cheers, Ed

01-24-2004, 12:41
Ok, first let's say barrel's not casks. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

Once the product is dumped like the Hirsch, it doesn't age anymore in the stainless it is put into, so there's no whopping 29 yo age involved there.

Oldest bourbon I have heard of is 28 year old Heaven Hill, but near impossible to find. It was a very rare thing. The oldest aged bourbon I have is Old Man WInter 25 year.

01-24-2004, 13:08
Ok, first let's say barrel's not casks.

Right! Sorry! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/banghead.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/banghead.gif

I'm amazed at the existance of 28 year old bourbon! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif And your 25 year old one as well! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif Have you actually tasted any sample of the 25 year old? Or seen tasting notes by anyone?

As for the Hirsch 16, Gabanyi, in his book "WHISK(E)Y", says on page 13 that "In 1990 the trading firm of Cork 'n' Bottle took over the whiskey, contracting Van Winkle ... to bottle it." So I have assumed that the barrels were dumped summer (or later) in 1990. Or maybe 1991 sometime. Julian, of course, knows for sure. And then the bourbon that went on to be the Hirsch 20 (and that rare Hirsch 19) was in barrels that were dumped later still. Anyway, it shows that bottling date does not always mean anything if there is a significant time elapsed between dumping the barrel(s) and the bottling of the bourbon. Thanks for the info on the old bourbons! Cheers, Ed

01-24-2004, 13:14
The label...

I found one for a friend not too long ago. I am working on another, that still exists. Rare? Yes. Extinct? Almost...

I was in the warehouse not too long ago. Warehouse "Y". There was a barrel of bourbon in the "Milestone Row". I can't remember the exact date but I know it was over 30+ years old. I could kick myself for not tapping on it to see if there was anything in there. I could almost bet that it was total evaporation. The next time I am there I am going to check to see if there is product in it...

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

01-24-2004, 13:29
Thanks for that great pic of the label! All I can say is wow! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Cheers, Ed

01-24-2004, 21:34
Do the Oriental-looking markings at the bottom of the label indicate, perhaps, that this bottling was shipped overseas -- probably Japan?

01-24-2004, 21:42
The neatest thing at a tour (not the hard-hat one) at Buffalo Trace last summer -- aside from getting to stick my hand into the stream of a barrel pour and licking my fingers -- was a display which showed several barrels at varying ages with transparent endpieces so that one could see the product inside them. The oldest one was, I think, either 20 or 23 years old -- that would make in Pappy, of course -- and the tour leader (forgive me for not remembering his name; he was very informative) noted the 23-year-old Pappy would evaporate down to about 5 gallons by the time it was tapped. The more I think about it, maybe $180 a bottle isn't so much for a drink the angels like so much!

01-24-2004, 21:48
Sure nuff does http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Export only--Japan--.

It has the beautiful foil label but then, there is is "awful" looking dipped wax neck. It's not the prettiest bottle I've seen.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif