Clicky

What Is The Best Old Forester Bourbon? Ranked (2022)

Last Updated on November 27, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Old Forester is one of the bourbon industry’s oldest brands. But that’s not all — it was also the first bourbon sold in sealed bottles. 

Before Old Forester’s innovation, bourbon was just out of barrels in grocery stores, much like an archaic soda fountain machine. 

Old Forester’s 150 years in the business allowed them to create cult classic bourbons, some of which are our personal favorites. So what is the best Old Forester bourbon? 

Top 12 Old Forester Bourbons To Try

12. Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond on desk with glass and cheesecake

Average Price: Around $60 

Alcohol Content: 50% 

Why We Liked It: The Old Forester 1897 Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon pays homage to the first year the Bottled in Bond Act was implemented. 

As the name suggests, this is a Bottled In Bond, [1] meaning the bourbons were distilled and produced under well-regulated conditions.

This is pretty spicy relative to the proof. It has warm notes of chewy caramel, smooth vanilla latte, brown sugar, and hints of cherry. 

11. Old Forester 86 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

Old Forester 86 Proof on table with glass and decanter

Average Price: Around $25 

Alcohol Content: 43% 

Why We Liked It:

Their flagship whiskey is made with their signature mash bill of 72 percent corn, 18 percent rye, and 10 percent malted barley. 

This is a pretty straightforward Old Forester bourbon with classic caramel and oak notes. It’s also a wise choice for its price tag, especially if you’re a first-timer.

To be honest, we found its palate a bit lackluster compared to their other bottles, but it’ll work extremely well in cocktails. 

Read: Bourbon Mash Recipes Guide

10. Old Forester The President’s Choice

Old Forester The President’s Choice on desk with maple bourbon mash

Average Price: Around $170 

Alcohol Content: 52% 

Why We Liked It:

As the name suggests, The President’s Choice is, well, the president’s choice. This bourbon comes from a barrel personally selected by Campbell Brown, president of the Brown-Forman Corporation, with the guidance of Master Taster Jackie Zykan. 

The ABV of this particular Old Forester bourbon varies. As a single barrel bourbon, this has a strong ethanol burn initially, but we find that if you let the dram sit inside your glass for a while, it mellows down a bit. 

Brown and Zykan picked a gorgeous barrel rife with notes of warm caramel, oak, vanilla, and black pepper. 

9. Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2020 

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2020 on table with glass and caramel tart

Average Price: Around $500 

Alcohol Content: 49% 

Why We Liked It:

The annual release of the Old Forester Birthday bourbon is always highly anticipated. The Brown-Forman company releases a birthday bottle every September to celebrate their founder George Brown’s birthday month. 

It’s a different juice every year, so it’s pretty exciting — if you can get your hands on one, that is. 

The 2020 edition was pulled from 95 barrels with an age statement of 10 years. This small batch dram is fruit-forward, rife with syrupy notes of blackberries, cherries, and raspberries.

The tartness is balanced out with rye spice, vanilla cream, caramel, and hints of black pepper. But how long does bourbon need to be aged?

8. Old Forester 1870 Original Batch Bourbon

Old Forester 1870 Original Batch on desk with glass and pear

Average Price: Around $50 

Alcohol Content: 45% 

Why We Liked It:

Old Forester 1870 Original Batch Bourbon is created in the “original” way its founder, George Garvin Brown, created his signature blends. 

Back in the day, Brown would pull barrels from the Brown-Forman distillery to create a blend to sell, and it is this practice that is replicated today.

Three barrels are pulled from three distilleries, each with varying age statements, entry proofs, and distilling dates. 

You never know what to expect with Old Forester 1870. The one we got had a citrus-forward palate, so we have no problem imagining it will work wonders in cocktails.

There is also a bit of creamy eggnog, caramel, and hints of brown sugar to balance out the zest. 

7. Old Forester 150th Anniversary Batch Proof

Old Forester 150th Anniversary with box on table

Average Price: Around $400 

Alcohol Content: 62.8% 

Why We Liked It:

The Old Forester 150th Anniversary Batch Proof is a limited-edition bottle released during their 150th year in the business. 

It was crafted using 150 barrels and released to the public in three batches. Jackie Zykan and Master Distiller Chris Morris had manually chosen the barrels for this expression. 

Tasting notes include holiday spices, buttery caramel, anise, and some menthol. We think this is a satisfying sipper, especially when drunk on the rocks, but there are better Old Forester bourbons out there at half the price. 

6. Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Bourbon

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style on desk with glass and almond chocolate

Average Price: Around $65 

Alcohol Content: 57.5% 

Why We Liked It:

The Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Bourbon commemorates the period before Prohibition, wherein alcohol production and consumption were banned in the entire country.

Old Forester was one of the few distilleries allowed to distill whiskey for medicinal purposes. [2

Old Forester 1920 mimics the quality of Prohibition-style whiskey. Whiskey was much darker then, having almost a bittersweet chocolate flavor profile. 

It is further enhanced by caramel apples, pecans, and maple syrup in the mid-palate and dramatically finishes with rye spice and more chocolate. But will bourbon go bad?

5. Old Forester Statesman Bourbon

Old Forester Statesman on table with cocktail and chocolate almond nougat

Average Price: Around $60 

Alcohol Content: 47.5% 

Why We Liked It:

The Old Forester Statesman Bourbon is the only bourbon released as a movie tie-in (Kingsman: The Golden Circle). We thought it was gimmicky at first, but boy, were we impressed by this great-tasting bourbon. 

This Old Forester bourbon is pretty hefty and well-balanced, rife with tasting notes of sweet chocolate cake, oak, and woody cinnamon spices.

Chewing it brings out a burst of cherry and some clove to balance out all the sweetness from the palate. 

4. Old Forester 100 Proof Signature Bourbon

Old Forester 100 Proof Signature on desk with glass and chocolate truffles

Average Price: Around $30 

Alcohol Content: 50% 

Why We Liked It:

The Old Forester 100 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky is one of the brand’s oldest bottles. The 100-proof version is barely filtered with water. 

We love the warmth emanating from this Old Forester bourbon. It has classic notes of rich caramel, warm vanilla, and baking spices, further enhanced by a buttery texture and hints of sweet cherry.

The dram has a medium-length finish with oak and spice notes. 

3. Old Forester Single Barrel Barrel Strength Bourbon

Old Forester Single Barrel Barrel Strength on desk with glass and cigar

Average Price: Around $90 

Alcohol Content: 65% 

Why We Liked It:

The Old Forester Single Barrel Barrel Strength Bourbon is a single-barrel dram that isn’t cut with water. As with other barrel-strength bottles, this one doesn’t go through any chill filtering or dilution.

It is bottled at a hefty 130 proof with all the pure stuff inside. 

This Old Forester bourbon has a lot of heat, so it definitely isn’t for beginners. This whiskey is rife with charred oak, rye spice, caramel, old leather, and even dried roses on the palate. 

2. Old Forester Single Barrel Select

Old Forester Single Barrel on table with glass

Average Price: Around $45 

Alcohol Content: 45% 

Why We Liked It:

If you found number three too hot, you will definitely enjoy the Old Forester Single Barrel Select. This one is a lot more mellow at 90 proof.

The whiskey was pulled from a lone barrel personally hand-picked by the Master Distiller. 

This dram is much more easy-going yet still retains the Single Barrels’ depth and richness. It has a perfect balance of salted caramel, sweet vanilla, citrus notes, and black pepper spice on the palate. 

This Old Forester bourbon is an instant crowd favorite and one of our favorite expressions from the brand. 

1. Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky

Old Forester 1910 on desk with old fashioned bourbon cocktail

Average Price: Around $60 

Alcohol Content: 46.5% 

Why We Liked It:

Hands down, our favorite Old Forester expression is one of their special year bourbons, the Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky. In 1910, an accident set fire to the bottling line, which halted their entire production process. 

Whereas those bourbons were ready to be bottled, they were stored in secondary barrels.

They didn’t know that by the time they were ready for re-bottling, an entirely new whiskey was formed — remarkable enough to warrant an expression on its own. 

The Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky is looking to recapture that Eureka! moment.

The standard Old Expression whiskey goes through a second round of barreling (at 100 proof) before it is bottled, which gives the spirit an exceptionally smooth palate and a crisp, clean finish. 

There is plenty of caramel corn on the palate, interlaced with layers of buttercream, sticky toffee, cedar, and apricot. The sweetness is cut through with charred oak and rye spice. 

*Average prices are based on Drizly online. Prices may vary in local liquor shops.

FAQs 

Which Old Forester bourbon is the sweetest?

We find that the Old Forester Statesman is an easy pick if you prefer sweet bourbons. It has plenty of dark chocolate notes, further enhanced by sweet, syrupy fruit flavors.

It goes down easily without so much as a burn, and we recommend it to both beginners and aficionados. 

Which Old Forester bourbon is considered rare?

The Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is pretty rare. The company releases a birthday edition bottle annually every September to celebrate their founder’s birthday month.

The 2021 bottles were pulled from 119 bottles that have been aging for 12 years. Every year, the company releases something different. [3

What’s the best Old Forester bourbon for a daily sipper?

The Old Forester 86 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky works extremely well as a daily sipper.

This whiskey doesn’t have a high proof, and the price tag is really good. It has the standard, bourbon-y goodness that Old Forester is famous for. 

Final Verdict

Old Forester Bourbon is one of the oldest brands and has some of the best bottles ever to graze liquor shelves. 

Old Forester bourbons have deep and rich flavor profiles and a hefty, creamy mouthfeel.

Our personal favorite is the Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky, whose second maturation inside charred oak barrels imparts a distinctly addictive creaminess and smoothness that leaves you wanting more after that first sip. 

What do you think? Did we include your favorite Old Forester bourbon in the list? Let us know your thoughts by sounding off below. 

References: 

  1.  https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/19.364
  2.  https://www.history.com/topics/roaring-twenties/prohibition
  3. https://www.mensjournal.com/food-drink/2021-old-forester-birthday-bourbon-is-the-best-in-years-mens-journal/

Leave a Comment