June 2017: Old Forester Whiskey Row

Host: Jay Cary 

The Old Forester brand has been around as long as any other bourbon brand in America. George Garvin Brown, a former pharmaceutical salesman, started what is now the Brown-Forman Corporation (still managed by Brown’s descendants). The name “Old Forester” is thought to be in honor of Dr. William Forrester (the bourbon used to be spelled with the double “r”), who recommended the drink to his patients.

Old Forester’s “Whiskey Row Series,” first launched in 2014. The series is meant to honor both whiskey’s and Brown-Forman’s long tradition, both pre and post-Prohibition. The series highlights Old Forester’s significant milestones and production innovations with each release.

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The Distinguished Gentleman: The Man Behind the Bottle

One of the featured bottles in this month’s tasting has a bit of history to it other than the bourbon in the bottle.  The “President’s Choice” bottling by Brown-Forman was a specialty product bottled in the late 1950’s to early 1970’s.  It was a single barrel bourbon hand selected by the Master Distiller.  In its early years (like our bottling), it was not a public release.  Instead, it was a private selection only for “Distinguished Gentlemen” who worked for or with the distillery or who had some other distillery connection.  Our bottle prominently features the name of one such distinguished gentlemen, “M.H. W. Ritchie.”  We thought it would be interesting to learn a bit more of the man that made this bottle possible.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Bourbon Brands

“Can you taste that Jim Beam funk?”

“This has that typical Buffalo Trace sweetness.”

These, and many more, are all statements that I hear when sampling the many different whiskey brands produced by the small handful of extremely large and diverse bourbon producers.

These statements have often caused me to wonder what, if any, definable characteristics makes each bourbon product line* unique.  This post provides one man’s observations** of just that – six major bourbon distilleries and six basic descriptions of what to expect from each.

Click here to expand.

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