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Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Review (Complete Guide)

Last updated Oct 26, 2020 | Published on Sep 21, 2019


by Matty Sims

Reading Progress:

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).

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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:


Thick and oily beads of bourbon roll down the curves of my glencairn


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.


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.


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

Verdict – The Bourbon Bard 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’s Birthday Bourbon Over the Years

Old Forester's Birthday Bourbon (2002 to Present)

Birthday Bourbon 2002
Birthday Bourbon 2003 Spring
Birthday Bourbon 2003
Birthday Bourbon 2004
Birthday Bourbon 2005
Birthday Bourbon 2006
Birthday Bourbon 2007
Birthday Bourbon 2008
Birthday Bourbon 2009
Birthday Bourbon 2010
Birthday Bourbon 2011
Birthday Bourbon 2012
Birthday Bourbon 2013
Birthday Bourbon 2014
Birthday Bourbon 2015
Birthday Bourbon 2016
Birthday Bourbon 2017
Birthday Bourbon 2018
Birthday Bourbon 2019
Birthday Bourbon 2020

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

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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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