Distillery: Old Forester
BACKGROUND: Back in March 2021 Old Forester announced a new series, the 117 series. The series was launched and directed by Old Forester's Master Taster Jackie Zycan and making this the first bottle in the brand’s more than 150 year history to feature a woman’s signature. The first release (Batch 001) was High Angels' Share which showcased a selection of barrels that lost exceptional volume due to evaporation in the aging process. This second release (Batch 002) called Warehouse K features a blend of barrels aged on different floors from warehouse K which is known to produce exceptional single barrel and barrel strength whiskies. Constructed in 1953, Warehouse K uses the time-honored tradition of heat-cycling and has long been one of Old Forester’s favorite places for Single Barrel expressions. "Warehouse K has gained a cult following among bourbon connoisseurs,” Zykan said. “This blend is a representation across multiple floors and locations within this warehouse, giving a more holistic example of the profile its barrels yield." Warehouse K consisted of 12 barrels ranging from 5 years to a little older than 8 years. This year marks Old Forester’s 151st anniversary, making it the only bourbon brand with an uninterrupted history, sold by the same family company before, during, and after Prohibition.
NOSE: Putting the whiskey up to our nose we immediately noticed the rich sweet scents of caramel, brown sugar, clove, and plum. Together these were very rich and sweet scents but as we kept smelling we began to pull scents of milk chocolate, pepper, and tobacco leaves. The scents blended together wonderfully to give this whiskey a rich and sweet nose that is very approachable and enjoyable. (24/25)
PALATE: Wow, cherry cola and rich maple flavors really shine right off the bat with a very chewy and rich mouthfeel. The cherry note really dominates but there are hints of a medium bodied tobacco cigar and slight white pepper.. Although the palate is straightforward it is unbelievable. The dark tobacco notes balance the rich and sweet cherry notes in a way I have never experienced. It's simple yet sophisticated with a richness that is unparalleled. (38/40)
FINISH: Warehouse K fades away with more notes of tobacco and pepper along with oak sugars and after the spice fades the cherry notes come back and stay with you for a while. It is quite long and smooth. (22/25)
VALUE: With a $50 SRP (375ml) this is a great deal. However, on secondary we expect this to go for ~$250. We would pay up to $100. (8/10)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Old Forester 117 Series Warehouse K is a stellar whiskey. With a rich, sophisticated, and delicious flavor profile this whiskey is really something to cherish. This is a very unique flavor profile for Old Forester and absolutely fantastic. Even though they only come in 375ml bottles, we encourage everyone to get this for your collection if you can. This one will surely put up a fight in our year end "Best New Bourbon" award. We can't wait to try the next release of the 117 series.
Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: Old Forester 150th Anniversary Batch 2
Similar & Equal Whiskey: Stagg Jr. Batch 14
Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: WT Masters Keep Decades
Tell us what you think and give us some feedback!
96-100: The perfect dram, juice of the gods
90-95: Near perfect, truly incredible whiskey
85-89: Amazing whiskey, will always try to keep a backup bottle of this
80-84: Very good, some minor flaws here or there
75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink, Will try and keep a bottle on the shelf
70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get this
60-69: Decent, would offer this up to non whiskey drinkers
50-59: Not my cup of tea
Below 50: Give away