Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (2019) Tasting [Review]

by | Sep 21, 2019 | Distillery, Limited Releases, Old Forester, Tastings | 0 comments

Birthday Bourbon is the annual release from Old Forester 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 2019 Release Tasting

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 I got smacked 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)

For me, this year’s release 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.

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