The nose on this bourbon presents with lots of cherry and lots of heat. There are also notes of vanilla extract evaporating off of an orange, if the orange is the size of the sun, collapsing in on itself until it in-densifies down to a tiny cherry of hydrogen and helium in the proper proportions and at the proper temperature. In other words, a nose of cosmic proportions. On the mouth, it’s a red velvet cake presented to you on your birthday, and one that is so good, you wouldn’t think twice of consuming it in your birthday suit (same goes for the whiskey itself). While the mouth isn’t as full and round as the nose, it drills into the palate expertly and sets up a perfectly balanced platform there. Think of an off-shore oil rig, only it’s spouting ultra high quality vanilla ice cream. And it’s shaped like a petit four (and tastes kinda like one, too). A petit four spouting great vanilla ice cream? Now that’s a birthday treat if I’ve ever heard of one. The mouth eases into the finish with what seems to be light, straight goodness adulterated ever so slightly with a touch of really good rye. Think Donna Reed jokingly trading dry barbs with Jimmy Stewart between takes on the set of It’s a Wonderful Life (you can’t create great sap if you take it too seriously at the time). The finish blossoms into a re-creation of that birthday celebration I held for myself that year I was stuck on a deserted island in the Pacific: volcanic dust, cane sugar, beach sand, molting horseshoe crab (“Here, let me help you out of that shell.”). Ah, those were the days. In other words, this is truly a birthday bourbon for all occasions.
The Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2012 is Gilligan’s Island–Whether your preference is Ginger, Mary Ann, the Professor, the Captain, or even Gilligan (can’t include the Howells here: they’re insufferable), there’s something for everyone. And it’s much funnier than Lost.
–Our thanks to Andrea Duvall and Brown-Forman for the sample!