Distillery | Limited Releases | Old Forester | Tastings

Every Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Reviewed [Complete Guide]

Last updated Nov 19, 2020 | Published Sep 2019

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by Matty Sims

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is an annual release and celebrates the birthday of their founder George Garvin Brown on Sept 2nd every year.

“September is a special month for us at Old Forester.” Campbell Brown, Old Forester President. “We get to mark, in a public manner, through a carefully curated expression; the bourbon my great, great grandfather founded. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the legacy George left behind. And yes, I wish it was easier to locate!”

This year Old Forester is releasing only 2,200 cases (13,200 bottles) which came from 120 barrels distilled in May 2008 and aged on the second floor of Warehouse I. It is 105 proof — the highest proof of any Birthday Bourbon release (press release).

Start shopping for bourbon swag for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2020 Review

Coming Soon

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2019 Review

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2019

Describing this year’s release, Jackie Zykan, Master Taster, says:

“Birthday Bourbon selections have ranged from nine- to 14-years-old since the expression was first launched in 2002. When selecting the barrels for this year, we found something truly exceptional in this lot and we’re proud to call it our 2019 Birthday Bourbon.”

She further elaborates on some tasting notes for this year’s release: “a taste consisting of rich oak spice and blackcurrant coupled with light maple, caramel cake, and white floral notes.”

I agree with the general flavor profile she describes. Here are my notes:

Glass

Thick and oily beads of bourbon roll down the curves of my Glencairn whiskey glass

Nose

The minute I popped the cork this Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2019 smacked me in the face with full flavors of tart red berries and cherries. Reminds of me of a good old fashion cherry pie with a flaky, buttery crust that’s got a sugary glaze.

Just a hint of baking spice dancing in the background. This is a whiskey I could nose all day.

Taste

White pepper starts the show than it’s an explosion of complex and balanced under ripened fruit flavors, the backend has some oak, baking spice, and just a pop of that yeasty flavor note I get from a lot of the Old Forester whiskey row series.

Finish

Great finish. Stewed fruit, oak, black pepper, and it just warms the entire throat. A Kentucky hug at its finest.

Verdict – Gold 95 Points

For me, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2019 is a must buy if you can find it at retail $99.99. It’s rich, complex and overall delicious. The problem? It’s hard to find. Your best bet? Stock pile some bottles you can trade for what you want later especially between Sept to Nov when all the limited releases hit the shelves.

What you can probably get your hands on is some solid store picks from local groups or honey holes. Worst comes to worst pick up a bottle of Old Forester 1920 or 1910. Both are solid and well worth drinking.

If you’ve had this year’s Birthday Bourbon, share your tasting notes below.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2018 Review

Coming Soon

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2017 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2016 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2015 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2014 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2013 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2012 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2011 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2010 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2009 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2008 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2007 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2006 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2005 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2004 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2003 Review

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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2002 Review

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Old Forester’s Birthday Bourbon Over the Years

Old Forester’s Birthday Bourbon is released on September 2 every year in celebration of George Garvin Brown, the founder of Old Forester Distillery.

According to bourbon historian Michael Veach:

In 1870 George Garvin Brown was a pharmaceutical salesman for Henry Chambers and Co. He was selling whiskey to doctors and pharmacies. After hearing complaints about the changing quality of the whiskey the doctors were prescribing to patients, Brown came up with the idea of bottling whiskey to ensure the quality. Most whiskey at that time was being sold out of the barrel at the pharmacies, saloons and liquor dealers. Bottles were expensive and would cost more than the whiskey that went into them yet this made sense to the specialized market of medicinal whiskey. People would pay more for whiskey if it was for health reasons. Chambers agreed it was a good idea, but decided that he would rather see Brown start a company to create this whiskey. So instead, he agreed to help Brown set up his own company to sell the whiskey. With Chambers’ help, George Garvin Brown and his older brother J.T.S. Brown, Jr. set up a company and created Old Forrester.

Old Forester's Birthday Bourbon (2002 to Present)

Birthday Bourbon 2002

2002

Birthday Bourbon 2003 Spring

Spring 2003

Birthday Bourbon 2003 Fall

Fall 2003

Birthday Bourbon 2004

2004

Birthday Bourbon 2005

2005

Birthday Bourbon 2006

2006

Birthday Bourbon 2007

2007

Birthday Bourbon 2008

2008

Birthday Bourbon 2009

2009

Birthday Bourbon 2010

2010

Birthday Bourbon 2011
2011
Proof: 98
Age: 12 Years
Original MSRP: $50
Birthday Bourbon 2012
2012
Proof: 97
Age: 12 Years
Original MSRP: $55
Birthday Bourbon 2013
2013
Proof: 98
Age: 12 Years
Original MSRP: $55
Birthday Bourbon 2014
2014
Proof: 97
Age: 12 Years
Original MSRP: $60
Birthday Bourbon 2015
2015
Proof: 100
Age: 12 Years
Original MSRP: $80
Birthday Bourbon 2016
2016
Proof: 97
Age: 12 Years
Original MSRP: $80
Birthday Bourbon 2017
2017
Proof: 96 and 95.4
Age: 12 Years
Original MSRP: $80
Birthday Bourbon 2018
2018
Proof: 101
Age: 12 Years
Original MSRP: $100
Birthday Bourbon 2019
2019
Proof: 105
Age: 11 Years
Original MSRP: $100
Birthday Bourbon 2020
2020
Proof: 98
Age: 10 Years
Original MSRP: $130

Start shopping for bourbon swag for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is the Editor-in-Chief at a digital media company. LeAnn (his wife) and his daughters Claire, Maddy, and Adele along with a brand new pup Booker live in Taylors, SC, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys cracking a well-aged bottle of bourbon with friends and sharing stories, or cracking one of his favorite daily sippers on the back porch while the pup and his kids play in the backyard. He is a storyteller at heart, and Bourbon has deep roots in storytelling.

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