Review #212 Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond


Distillery: Brown-Forman

Proof: 100

Age: NAS

Mashbill: 72% corn, 18% rye, & 10% Malted Barley


BACKGROUND: Old Forester 1897 was the second release from Old Forester’s “Whiskey Row Series.” The year 1897 is significant because that was the year the Bottled-In-Bond act was passed. Before the Bottled in Bond Act, the regulations on bourbon were pretty relaxed, allowing sellers to buy and sell spirits of inferior quality, often mixed with color and flavor additives. The expression is filtered to mimic 19th century bourbon, more specifically, the whiskey that Old Forester was producing at that time.


NOSE: A very bold nose opening with a sweet oaky sensation. As the woody spices start to adjust your senses, sweeter notes of honey and vanilla arise marrying to a creme brulee flavored with a hint of dark cherry to cap it off. (23/25)


PALATE: I was a little underwhelmed by the palate compared to how strong the nose was, nevertheless 1897 starts with a very dry, thick, mouthfeel. Notes of sweet cherry, light banana notes, honey, and molasses . As you continue to drink the oak spice starts to come back from the nose, taking over the flavor with little hints of dark fruits comparable to licorice. (31/40)


FINISH: The finish was quite long and very enjoyable. Traditional spiced oak notes keep the insides of your mouth watering until an absolutely delightful caramelized banana, flashed for a few moments only to fade into a more rye influenced spice leaving you wanting more. (21/25)


VALUE: This carries a $50 SRP, for that price it's not a bad buy, but being next to the other Old Forester expressions in the store, which in my opinion are better buys, I probably will not purchase again. (7/10)


Overall: 82/100


FINAL THOUGHTS: One thing that really sticks out about this bottle is just how balanced the flavor profile is going between floral notes and spiced notes. It's hard to compare this to the other Whiskey Row bottles due to the quality but, don’t let that discourage you, this is a wonderful bottle.


Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: Old Forester 1920

Similar & Equal Whiskey: Willett Pot Still Reserve

Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: Ole Grandad BiB


Scoring Legend:

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


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