Booze trivia du jour: Why is Old Forester spelt “whisky” instead of whiskey”? Answer: Well, it might have something to with the fact that George Garvin Brown, the creator of Old Forester, was descended from a Scotsman, and we know how the Scotch distillers prefer “whisky” to “whiskey.”
Anyhoo, Old Forester has been around in one form or another since 1870. You can get some sense of its rollicking history from here. One of it’s big claims to fame is that Old Forester was the first bourbon to be made available in sealed bottles. (Before the 20th-century, whiskey was sold directly from the barrel, and in an a range of vessels. Selling it in a sealed, labeled bottle sent consumers of the day a message, “This product is good and safe. It isn’t snake oil.”)
So many Bourbons are very sweet and, well, rather simple. Old Forester is an interesting spirit. Scotch tipplers might find it worth a try. Old Forester uses a lot of rye in its mashbill. The flavor is distinct; it hits the nose and palate with a rush of flavors: menthol, maple syrup, butter scotch, and orange peel, to cite a few. This whiskey is not particularly sweet, and it closes dryly. Old Forester is a very nuanced Bourbon, and one that tastes like no others. (Rating ****) The 100 proof Signature version of Forester is even more intense (Rating ****1/4). Perhaps one fine day we will have the pleasure of trying the tweener Old Forester—the much ballyhooed 94 proof (“birthday”) version.