Last month Old Forester announced the launch of their new Whiskey Row series, a lineup of whiskeys that highlight the brand’s significant milestones and production innovations over the course of its history. The initial release is called 1870 Original Batch, and it commemorates the year Old Forester introduced the first “batched” bourbon.
Before its release, bourbon was sold by the barrel, which created variance in the taste profiles and quality. And while today single barrel bourbons are prized for their uniqueness, Old Forester’s founder George Garvin Brown was a pioneer, batching and blending bourbon from three different distilleries to create one consistent, replicable product. This method became the industry standard.
In creating the Old Forester 1870 Original Batch Bourbon, the distillery selected three barrels, each from a different warehouse, production day, entry proof and maturation period. The expressions were then batched together to produce this cohesive, 90 proof bourbon that pays homage to the technique Brown developed back in 1870. And we’ve got a bottle, so let’s see how they did.
Old Forester 1870 Original Batch pours a light, amber brown in the glass. On the nose, it’s full of cinnamon, cloves, citrus fruits, soft vanilla and honey. That all translates nicely to the palate, where you’ve got a well-balanced bourbon with flavors of baking spices, more citrus, apple, mild oak and some caramel-vanilla sweetness. The grippy finish winds down with lingering fruit, dry oak and just a touch of leather.
Kudos to Old Forester on producing a very likable, gimmick-free whiskey. The 1870 Original Batch has plenty of flavor and character, and those oak and spice notes add a pleasant little punch. From start to finish, it’s an easy-drinking, enjoyable bourbon
– 45% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★★