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  1. #21
    Guru
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    May 2002
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    Central Arizona (near Prescott), U.S.A.
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    Re: BOTM, 7/05: Old Forester

    Because of the BOTM declaration I finally opened a 1.75 L. bottle of Old Forester that I bought last September at Spec's in Houston. (That was when I drove there to adopt Seth, now "Brewski", from the shelter where I'd left him four months and a change of residence earlier. Brew looks like one of those awful pit bulls you hear so much about. In reality he likes both people and other dogs -- see attached. Besides his other fine qualities, I wouldn't have this bottle of OF 100 if not for him. But I digress.)

    When I opened the new bottle of OF 100, I couldn't believe my nose. It smelled nothing like what I remembered. My smeller worked better back when I was breathing rich, high-humidity, Long Beach air, but that could hardly account for the discrepancy.

    Just to try to recover my old memories of OF 100 I did a search on ' +"old forester" +morefield '. That produced an astonishing 40+ posts in which I had at least mentioned Old Forester in some form. Note to Joe_Blowe: Some of those posts address the comparison to Woodford Reserve, as do other posts in the parent threads. The variety of often contradictory statements I have made about this bourbon give me pause in regard to further documenting my confusion. However, some common themes emerge.

    Someone mentioned hospital alcohol. That's pretty close to my earlier reference to Mr. Clean, which in turn was a response to someone who likened the aroma to drain cleaner. However, just as some cleaning products contain cover-up fragrances or citrus oil, OF 100 gives me a combination of sweet and sour, sufficiently balanced to be pleasant. Today I liken the nose to the smell of cinnamon rolls with lots of cinnamon and gooey, white, vanilla icing.

    Earlier Chuck mentioned a sooty element in the finish, which I did not get. Now I do.

    While drinking (and trying to parse flavor elements) OF 100 several times over the past two weeks, I've found that it has grown on me. At first I found it slightly harsh and not very appealing. I found myself regretting that I'd bought the big bottle and wondering whether I would ever drink it all. That initial impression has gradually changed.

    Last night I did an A-B tasting with WT 101. To my surprise the WT seemed lacking in nose and flavor. Have I deadened my taster by repeatedly flooding it with OF100? I think I'll set it aside for now and revisit it later in the month.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #22
    Administrator in exile
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    3,904

    Re: BOTM, 7/05: Old Forester

    Sampling a bit of this tonight. Black Diamond label to be exact. On the nose I get lots of caramel and vanilla, and maybe just a hint of chocolate-covered cherry. The first sip in somewhat hot with lots of wood and spice. The caramel carries over nicely to the palate with a bit of nutmeg and clove. The finish is medium in length with cinnamon and pepper notes lingering.

    This is a bourbon I once proclaimed as my absolute favorite. While I still find it enjoyable, I can't help but think it has suffered somewhat at the hands of the Birthday Bourbons and Woodford Reserve. Maybe there is hope on the horizon, as WR continues to utilize more and more pot-stilled whiskey. But, no matter how you slice it, Old Forester is a solid bourbon at a great price!

  3. #23
    Advanced Taster
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    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    195

    Re: BOTM, 7/05: Old Forester

    Last night I had a two finger pour. I still can't get into the OF 100. I realize that under $15 a bottle it's a good value, I just can't wrap my taste buds around it. Too much achohol, (don't get me wrong, I like Old Grand Dad 114, and Pappy Van Winkle 15yr is outstanding). And as far as smokey and medicinal, I enjoy Single Malts from Islay. But it (OF 100) doesn't do it for me.Chaz

  4. #24
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    1,394

    Old Forester - America\'s Guest Whisky

    Those who have been reading posts by some of your Bay Area correspondents have no doubt noticed the degree to which we have been disappointed with the current releases of Old Forester.

    In perspective, I would say that we are talking about a bourbon that has a canonical place in whisk(e)y and would urge enthusiasts to take a long term view.

    Old Forester had an exellent reputation from the 1870s. I have samples ranging from the early '70s (1970s, that is) till the current day, and find that it was sometime after the 1995 bottling (about the time when all the questions about the effects of Woodford on the quality of Old Forester would start) that things haven't been up to historic standards. There is hope, though, as in contrast to the excellent ND products which are gone forever as far as we can tell, BF still has the leadership and level of expertise that made the fine bourbon of a short ten to twenty years ago to bring their product back. I am faithfully thinking of this as a troubled period from which Old Forester will reemerge in time.

    I have bunkered a good supply to allow it to remain, as always, "America's Guest Whisky" in my home and will gladly welcome new bottles into the flock as they return to form - may that time be soon.

    -Roger

    PS - Only one bad bottle in the photo below
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #25
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    Re: BOTM, 7/05: Old Forester

    While drinking (and trying to parse flavor elements) OF 100 several times over the past two weeks, I've found that it has grown on me. At first I found it slightly harsh and not very appealing. I found myself regretting that I'd bought the big bottle and wondering whether I would ever drink it all. That initial impression has gradually changed.

    Last night I did an A-B tasting with WT 101. To my surprise the WT seemed lacking in nose and flavor. Have I deadened my taster by repeatedly flooding it with OF100? I think I'll set it aside for now and revisit it later in the month.
    Lacking the requisite Old Fitz BIB to join in the August BOTM conversation, last night I revisited the Old Forester 100 proof. Whatever process I went through before, whether deadening or merely temporary desensitization, its effect has now disappeared. Other than a few appealing elements in the nose, I found nothing to enjoy. Perhaps if I were to force myself to drink it exclusively for a few nights, I would once again reach a point where I would pronounce it acceptable. Absent the motivation of the BOTM experience, I will pass.

    After I dumped all but a few sips from the one glass, I rinsed the glass thoroughly and once again tried WT101. As before, its flavor seemed more subdued than usual, but the effect was less pronounced than before, no doubt because I'd subjected my sensory apparatus to only a few sips of OF 100.

    I now have over 1.5 liters of bourbon that is destined to become an ingredient, not a solo course.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  6. #26

    Re: BOTM, 7/05: Old Forester

    My original impression in July of near-current bottle:

    ...The color is new-copper-plating orangish, as on a current-year penny. The nose has hints of lemon/citrus, with underlying brown sugar/maple, and holds suggestion of a light-bodied pour. On the palate, the weight is indeed light, and the flavors complement the nose about as well as any bourbon I've ever tasted -- the citrus is prominent, with almost no 'dark' flavors (tobacco, leather, acidic oak). There is a medium finish with mild heat, leaving a remarkably fresh aftertaste.
    Not a lot of complexity here, but no real unpleasantness either. This is a fresh, enjoyable drink, seemingly tuned to summertime sipping...
    I'm revisiting this because I found an older (1994), dimpled liter BIB today for under $20, so picked it up. Wow! Not the same bourbon (literally, in fact -- this one was distilled at Shively's DSP-354 Early Times plant, not the Old Forester DSP-414 distillery in Louisville proper).
    This one is full tawny, with just hints of orange (older than 4 years, maybe?); no lightness about it -- not in nose, taste or finish; there is certainly leather, tobacco and oak here; and it provides a fair amount of alcohol heat before demurring at the very end.
    This store also had several 1998 bottles of the old-label (but not dimpled) 86 proof (packaged with an NFL highlights video). I might lay them in if they approach this one in style.

  7. #27
    Virtuoso
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    Apr 2005
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    Re: BOTM, 7/05: Old Forester

    Of bonds that I have, the first one from DSP 354 is a post-tax stamp 375ml that has "88" stamped into the glass. My copy of Jim Murray's Complete Book of Whiskey (1997) states that Old Forester, Louisville (DSP 414) distillation was moved to Early Times, Shively (DSP 354) in 1979. I have no reason to believe (or disbelieve, other than the liquor itself) that the Louisville still ever operated again after that, although since Forester stopped declaring the DSP on newer bib's, who's to know?

    In comparison to the 1970s bonds, the '88 and the '95 bonds are noticeably lighter, hotter, have some less caramel in both aroma and flavor (the '95 less than the '88), and have a noticeable alcohol whiff that is absent from the heavier, much more complex and caramelly-sweet '78.

    So, based on my samples, I think that Forester became progressively lighter in Shively. Murray refers to a "virtual triple distillation..beer still to thumper to doubler" added "recently" (published 1997). It's not clear if the '95 bottle would be just before the advent of the "triple distillation," or if this was one more step in lightening the flavor.

    Roger

 

 

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