The 2023 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon official announcement is on the way but we’ve been exclusively granted permission to share details of this year’s Birthday Bourbon release.
Speaking with Old Forester’s Master Taster, Melissa Rift, we discussed how bourbon aficionados can best enjoy the 2023 Birthday Bourbon as well as how they can purchase a bottle. First, let’s take a look at what’s in this year’s Birthday Bourbon bottle.
2023 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon: What’s in the Bottle
- The 157th anniversary of Old Forester Distillery founder George Garvin Brown’s birth will be celebrated by a 12-year-old Birthday Bourbon at 96-proof
- The 12-year-old bourbon came from the 5th floor of Old Forester’s Warehouse I.
- The 103 barrels pulled for the 2023 Birthday Bourbon were filled on May 5, 2011
- Color of rich aged leather
- Aroma full of candied citrus, roasted coffee beans, and charred oak
- Heavy notes of dark honey on the tongue
- Toasted oaky caramel with a long, smooth fish
How to get this year’s birthday bourbon
Just as in 2022, this year’s release will be available through an online sweepstakes. Bottles will not be sold at the Old Forester Distillery on September 2nd, rather, that’s when winners of the sweepstakes will be chosen by Old Forester. The sweepstakes runs from August 24 to 31st and people will be able to enter on the Old Forester website.
Winners will then have several months, between September 8th to December 23rd, to pick up their bottle at the distillery. But they will have to so in person, and it cannot be picked up remotely. It has a suggested retail price of $169.99
What makes the Birthday Bourbon one of the most highly-sought after releases of the year is how each year packs a unique flavor that is guaranteed to deliver. It is hard to call anything a ‘sure thing’ in the world of Bourbon when barrels are being aged for over a decade. So much can change over that time span. But Old Forester continues to deliver the goods with a one-of-a-kind “snowflake” batch that’s unique to each and every year.
Speaking about this year’s Birthday Bourbon, Old Forester Master Taster Melissa Rift said “Every year, Birthday Bourbon is a unique opportunity for lovers of Old Forester to taste a snapshot of the bourbon that was being laid down over a decade ago. This year’s 12-year-old offering is serving up a classic Old Forester profile that has spent that time developing rich caramelized and oaky characteristics.”
Prior to the release of this year’s Birthday Bourbon, I spoke with Old Forester’s Master Taster, Melissa Rift, about how bourbon-lovers looking to expand their palate can get the most out of this year’s release.
Specifically, we talked about crafting a smelling kit that would pair well with this year’s Birthday Bourbon, as in getting a set of empty boxes and filling it with ingredients from your grocery store and/or pantry to better catch notes in a bourbon.
To identify the fruits and florals in this year’s release, Melissa Rift suggested filling some smell boxes/jars with citrus peels (orange and lemon), and candied citrus peels. Being able to identify between those scents AND when they’re candied will help the tasting experience go a lot deeper. She also suggested the common rose as a good scent to familiarize oneself with as it is often hard to identify. Other florals Melissa Rift suggested smelling on a regular basis are mints, herbal teas, and chamomile.
Beyond florals, Old Forester’s Master Taster suggested filling smell boxes with cinnamon, black pepper, and peppercorn. She told me that the ‘spices’ tend to blend together for a lot of people (cinnamon vs allspice) so smelling those regularly and being able to parse them out is crucial to expanding ones palate. She also suggested dark chocolate, roasted coffee, vanilla (of course), and then both raw oak and toasted/charred oak. Being able to distinguish raw oak versus charred oak is important in tasting.
Should you want to take your Old Forester Birthday Bourbon tasting experience to the next level this year, hop on Amazon and search ’empty glass jars’ then fill them with the ingredients listed above. Label the jars. Smell those items daily. Then after a few days or weeks, once you really get a sense of the notes, try and do it blind. Push yourself to really identify those notes and that will do wonders in helping you take your Birthday Bourbon tasting to the next level.