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Old Forester Statesman vs 1920 Bourbons: Which is Better?

Last Updated on November 27, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Old Forester continually introduces quality and excellent spirits. And two of Old Forester’s masterpieces are the 1920 Prohibition Style and the Statesman. 

Launched in 2016 and 2017, both of these spirits eventually got the attention of whiskey fans, making them among the best choices in Old Forester’s spirits line. 

But as Old Forester uses the same mash bills on their spirits, what makes each expression unique? How does the Old Forester Statesman vs 1920 differ? 

Let’s compare these two excellent drinks and learn more about their history, production process, alcohol content, and value for money. 

Old Forester 1920 & Statesman Bourbons Compared 

Bottles Old Forester 1920 & Statesman

Despite coming from the Old Forester Distillery, Statesman and 1920 are two distinct whiskeys when it comes to barrel management.   

Some of their tasting notes are the same as they share the same mash bill with the same percentage of malted barley (10%), corn (72%), and rye (18%).  

However, 1920 is more full-bodied and is high-proof as it’s not that diluted to water compared to the Statesman, which is more diluted to water and is moderately proof. 

Also, 1920 and Statesman do not have an age statement, but 1920 is aged at about four years while the Statesman is aged at about five years. 

When it comes to the price, both are in the same price range; but the Statesman is a little cheaper.    

Their Key Differences 

History & Origin

oak barrels on a shelves

Old Forester released a limited-edition whiskey, “Old Forester Statesman,” in August 2017.

It was created to coincide with “Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle,” a movie that came out in September 2017. 

Old Forester’s master distillers had a bit of fun with the idea of releasing a bold whiskey, which resulted in the Old Forester Statesman.

They crafted Statesman with a balance of spice and heat for a truly developed character.

The Old Forester 1920 was released a year ahead of Statesman– 2016. This is Old Forester’s third release in their whiskey row series. 

The company’s goal is to recreate what it made during Prohibition. So, along with 1920, other notable entries in the collection include the 1870 Original Batch and 1897 Bottled in Bond. 

1920 features a 115-proof expression, which pays homage to the brand’s history of distillation. 

This is the only bourbon made by Old Forester that was available for sale before and after Prohibition.

“The true pioneer of civilization is not the newspaper, not religion, not the railroad — but whiskey!”

— Mark Twain, American Author/Humorist

Production Process 

Old Forester Statesman and 1920 contain the same mash bill: 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley.

Regarding the alcohol proof [1], 1920 is high-proof– bottled at 115 proof or 57.5% ABV. Meanwhile, the Stateman is moderately proof– bottled at 95 proof or 47.5% ABV.  

Fun Fact: The Old Forester 1920 Prohibition-Style is one of the Old Forester’s highest-proof spirits available today. 

The limited availability of the Old Forester 150th anniversary single barrels is a major factor that makes 1920 a great option if you want a high-ABV expression. 

Read: Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Price Guide

Aging Process & Age Statement

Old Forester Statesman Bottle on top of barrel

Old Forester 1920 and Statesman do not have an age statement. But 1920 is aged around four years while the Statesman is aged around five years. 

Additionally, the casks used for aging the Statesman were not disclosed. 

But as per the Old Forester’s website, they use a blend of hand-picked casks from the warmest area of their facility, whereas 1920 is aged new American white oak.  

Tasting Notes 

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition-Style Bourbon

  • Palate: On the palate, it features a creamy body with flavors of caramel, vanilla, and sugary graham biscuit with subtle brown sugar, peppercorn, cedar, and coriander notes. 
  • Color/Hue: Chestnut color
  • Nose: On the nose, it gives off bananas, maple syrup, hints of ethanol, rye spice, dark chocolate, and caramel-rich aroma. 
  • Finish: It has a medium-length, warm and dry finish with hints of crisp tart apple, toasted marshmallow, graham biscuit, and chocolate tones. 

Old Forester Statesman Bourbon

  • Palate: On the palate, it starts sweet with hints of caramel and honey, then followed by black pepper, stinging citrus, buttery leather, and cinnamon bark notes. 
  • Color/Hue: Light mahogany to amber color 
  • Nose: On the nose, it delivers aromas of cherry, brown sugar, raw vanilla, high notes of cinnamon, clove, and tad oak spice. 
  • Finish: It has a medium length -with enough warmth– finish with notes of cherry cough syrup, eucalyptus, caramel, orange cream, cinnamon, and oak.  

Ownership & Distillery

Bottle of Old Forester 1920

Old Forester, who introduced the 1920 and Statesman, is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey [2] brand managed by the Brown-Forman Corporation. 

The Old Forester Distillery is also under the Brown-Forman Corporation, led by their master distiller Chris Morris. 

Price & Value

The Old Forester Statesman is priced at around $59.99 per 750ml (Drizly), while the 1920 is priced at around $64.99 per 750 ml (Drizly). 

1920 is more pricey than the Statesman, but just a few bucks difference.  

FAQs

Is Old Forester Statesman harder to find than 1920 Prohibition-Style?

Both the Old Forester Statesman and the 1920 Prohibition-Style are readily available in liquor stores. 

Which is better on the rocks, Old Forester 1920 or Statesman?

The Old Forester Statesman is better on the rocks. You can drink it neat, but with ice, it boosts the spirit’s full potential, making it easy to drink. 

Key Takeaways 

Although Statesman and the 1920 Prohibition-Style are impressive whiskeys from the Old Forester brand, they are different from each other. 

Despite their (almost) similar flavor profile, the full-bodied character of 1920 feels more interesting than the traditional bold character of Statesman.

Statesman is a decent drink to consume neat and on the rocks with enough warmth and sweetness, while 1920 is a great sipper with good balance and flavors. 

Therefore, we pick the Old Forester 1920; its high alcohol content doesn’t get in the way of giving you an excellent sipping experience– and it’s priced reasonably. 

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/story/why-is-alcohol-measured-by-proof 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/bourbon-whiskey 

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