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Old Forester 1920 vs 1910 Bourbon: Which is Better? (2022)

Last Updated on November 13, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Old Forester released the Row Series in 2014 to provide a premium bourbon experience with the brand’s 150 years of distilling lineage. 

The Old Forester 1920 is a crowd favorite, and while it shares a similar mash bill as 1910, it has a distinct tasting profile. 

So which bottle should you snag? Here’s the head-to-head battle of Old Forester 1920 vs 1910 to help you out. 

Old Forester 1920 & 1910 Compared 

Bottles of Old Forester 1920 & 1910 on top of a table

Old Forester is known as the first bottled bourbon, and two of the expressions from their Row Series have gathered so much attention for being great-tasting whiskeys. 

Old Forester 1920 boasts a higher alcohol proof making it bolder, richer, and more flavorful than Old Forester 1910.

On the other hand, 1910 is like a dessert in a glass-sweet and tasty whiskey. 

While they have their fair share of similarities on mash bills, ownership, and distillery, the two bourbons are more different than similar, especially on their tasting notes.

Head To Head Battle 

History & Origin

In 2014, Old Forester began to release their row series, and each bottle is named after significant years for the brand. 1920 was released earlier than 1910.

The brand launched the Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style last September 2016.

It was crafted to pay homage to the Prohibition and represent the rich flavor and vintage barrel strength. 

Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky is the final addition to the Whiskey Row Series, and it was released way back in October 2018. 

In 1910, the Old Forester bottling line caught fire, so the distillery forcibly stored the matured whiskey in a secondary barrel.

To mimic the historic bottling, it underwent second barreling. 

Production Process

Old Forester Bottles

The Old Forester 1920 and 1910 used a similar mash bill ratio: 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. 

The brand recipe combines the signature mash bill and a 1B proprietary yeast strain with roughly 20% sour mash.

After fermentation, it undergoes double distillation before aging. 

After aging, 1920 is bottled at 115 proof (57.5% ABV), while 1910 undergoes secondary maturation before bottling at 93 proof (46.5% ABV). 

“1920 Prohibition Style is our toast to the innovative and enduring spirit of Old Forester”

– Campbell Brown, Old Forester President. 

Aging Process & Age Statement

Both bourbons do not carry an age statement, meaning they are aged longer than four years.

Aging is important in bourbon making as it develops the spirit’s flavor profile [1]. 

While the two share an almost similar production process, they have big differences in the aging process because 1910 Old Fine Whisky undergoes second barreling.  

After initial maturation in new oak barrels, Old Forester 1910 is dumped in heavily charred, lightly toasted barrels for second maturation, which is quite noticeable in tasting notes. 

Tasting Notes 

Close up shot of Old Forester 1920 Bottle

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style

Palate: Intense caramel, malty, sweet graham cracker, green peppercorn, cedar, and coriander

Color/Hue: Medium dark chestnut 

Nose: Intense cherry, caramel, seasoned oak, maple syrup, and dark chocolate

Finish: Tart apple, long smoky finish, toasted marshmallow, chocolate, and satisfying heat 

Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky

Palate: Smooth, well-rounded, mingling sweet raisin cookie, caramel, vanilla, and evolving spice

Color/Hue: Dark orange brown

Nose: Buttercream, cedar, sticky toffee, oaky, dark fruit, caramel, cinnamon, and apricot

Finish: Medium, charred oak, with lingering oakiness and caramel 

Bottle Design

Old Forester 1920 and 1910 have almost similar packaging but are distinctive because of the color coding used by the brand. 

The Old Forester 1910 uses a blue tag on top of the bottle that features the signature of George Gavin Brown, founder of the brand, and its alcohol proof. 

The Old Forester 1920 features a green tag on top of the bottle, the founder’s signature, and its alcohol-proof. 

Ownership & Distillery

close up shot of old forester 1910 bottle

The Old Forester 1920 and 1910 is produced, distilled, and bottled in Old Forester Distilling Co in Louisville, Kentucky. 

The brand is owned by Brown-Forman Corporation, a beverage giant that owns multiple brands like Jack Daniels and Woodford Reserve. 

Price & Value

The Old Forester 1910 is cheaper than the Old Forester 1920. Based on Drizly online, a bottle of Old Forester 1910 costs around $59.99, while a bottle of Old Forester 1920 is roughly $64.99. 

The $5 difference between the two bourbons is justifiable because Old Forester 1920 is bolder, richer, and boasts a higher alcohol content. 

FAQs 

Which is lighter, Old Forester 1910 or 1920?

1910 is lighter than 1920. Since Old Forester undergoes second barrelling, it is sweeter and lighter than the latter. It is like a dessert on a glass with little warmth. 

Is Old Forester 1910 Old Fine whisky sweeter than 1920?

Yes, Old Forester 1910 Old Fine whisky is sweeter than 1920. Enthusiasts labeled it as dessert on a bottle because of its sweetness with rich cherry and oak notes. 

Final Say

Old Forester 1920 and 1910 is the brand’s way to offer consumers the taste of their way through their history.

They are surprisingly great bourbons but are more different than the same.  

After blind tasting, we find Old Forester 1920 better, bolder, flavorful, and richer than 1910.

It has more warmth but will not burn your throat and is enjoyable to consume. 

If you are a fan of sweeter and lighter bourbons, go with Old Forester 1910 but if you want a solid dram and more classic bourbon taste, go with Old Forester 1920. 

Reference:

  1. https://www.thespruceeats.com/effect-of-aging-on-liquor-759921 

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