There's no better way to burnish a collection than with this year's Old Forester Birthday Bourbon
Expect to pay a pretty penny if you didn't wait in line in Louisville.
In some cases, people wait hours or even days in advance to get their hands on a bottle of select whiskey releases. There is a days-long party for Stranahan's Snowflake single malt's winter release in Colorado, where fans camp out in the parking lot for days just to buy one. The Birthday Bourbon from Old Forester may not evoke the same carnival-like atmosphere, but it is still a unicorn bottle that commands a lot of fanaticism.
Local news reports indicated that this year, thousands of people waited outside the downtown Louisville distillery for hours in order to obtain a ticket that allowed them to purchase a bottle of whiskey at a price of $130, despite the fact that they had traveled from all over the country to attend the event. However, if you missed out on it, be prepared to pay hundreds (even thousands of dollars) more at secondary online retailers if you missed it.
When you find yourself in such a situation, the question always arises: Is it worth it? The answer, of course, is subjective, of course, and it is dependent on what you are able to afford and how passionate you are about hunting. However, Birthday Bourbon is a unique whiskey that is definitely worth considering. This is an annual release from Old Forester, a distillery well known for making excellent and affordable bourbon and rye, as well as some excellent higher-end whiskeys, such as Whiskey Row, among other things.
Founded by George Garvin Brown, Old Forester's Birthday Bourbon is released once a year to honor his birthday. Each batch is unique, a unique vintage blended from barrels that were produced on the same day. In spite of the fact that the flavor profile clearly varies from year to year and dedicated fans have their favorites, the overall quality of the bourbon is quite good, and the Old Forester bourbon is quite different from any other bourbon.
This year marks the 21st Birthday Bourbon release, a blend of 119 barrels that were filled on April 16, 2009, aged for 12 years in Warehouse G, and bottled at 104 proof. My first thought when tasting the 2021 release was that this was a bourbon with some cognac character, full of deep cherry and caramel notes that pop on the palate with a bit of spice on the finish. As you go back for seconds, dry but not overpowering tannic notes make themselves known, backed by a symphony of butterscotch, vanilla and peaches in syrup.
The 2021 expression of Birthday Bourbon is a fruity, rich bourbon that you are likely to find very satisfying, even though I don’t have the last five years of releases to compare it to. You can also find out where to buy Old Forester in your state by looking up the Old Forester website if you can find a bottle, which should be possible with a little internet search.
Those who love whiskey will argue that a limited release like this isn't worth paying close to a grand when so many good options are available, and they are certainly right. However, removed from the hype and exclusivity associated with this whiskey, the 2021 Birthday Bourbon is a very tasty whiskey on its own. If you are one of those whiskey aficionados who have the patience and drive to find a bottle, good luck.