150 years ago in 1870 the one-time pharmaceutical salesman George Garvin Brown created Old Forester Bourbon. It was a blend of bourbon whiskies from Mattingly, Mellwood and Atherton distilleries. At the time most spirits were delivered to pharmacies and saloons in barrels to be distributed by the jug. Unscrupulous tavern owners would sometimes stretch out their bourbon whiskey supply by adding prune juice, neutral grains, tobacco spit, rattlesnake heads, sugar, turpentine, iodine, fuse oil or water. Sounds yummy right? To guarantee consistency in his bourbon Brown seals his whiskey exclusively in glass bottles and signs each bottle as his personal guarantee of its quality.
This year marks a century and a half since Brown changed the whiskey world and established bottled bourbon as an industry standard. To celebrate Brown’s September 2, birthday Old Forester Distillery created Old Forester Birthday Bourbon in 2002. This year marks the 20th iteration of the limited release Birthday Bourbon.
Old Forester 10 Year Old Birthday Bourbon
The 2020 Birthday Bourbon will be bottled at 98 proof and is made up of 95 barrels, aged 10 years and barreled on June 5, 2010. After showing exceptionally unique character during a tasting panel, the 10-year-old barrels were chosen specifically for this year’s Birthday Bourbon. The full allotment of product represents one day’s production of Old Forester.
“Being part of the Birthday Bourbon selection process is one of my favorite parts of my job because of the legacy and tradition this expression represents,” said Jackie Zykan, Old Forester Master Taster. “We’re really proud of what we’ve produced this year and think it’s a great way to celebrate George’s birthday and Old Forester’s historic anniversary.”
This is the third Birthday Bourbon to be bottled at the Old Forester Distilling Co. on Louisville’s Historic Whiskey Row. The stainless steel tank you see in the picture above among all the barrels is used to process single barrels of bourbon. Hand selected by Master Distiller Chris Morris and Master Taster Jackie Zykan, this small batch bourbon offers a unique character and flavor profile that will never be replicated.
“Founded by my great-great grandfather, Old Forester the only bourbon brand with an uninterrupted 150-year history, sold by the same family company before, during and after Prohibition,” said Campbell Brown, Old Forester President. “Birthday Bourbon is the perfect way to celebrate his birthday and this milestone year makes it even more special. Its annual release has become something that bourbon lovers anticipate, and we really believe that the 2020 version is one of our best yet.”
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The 2020 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is bottled at 98 proof (49% ABV) and is being offered with a suggested retail price of $129.99. Birthday Bourbon will be available for purchase nationwide on an extremely limited basis starting in September 2020.