Bourbon Breakdown: Old Forester Whiskey Row Bourbon

September 14, 2021

If you’re a resident of Louisville, Kentucky — and a whiskey fan — you may have heard of Whiskey Row. For everyone else, Whiskey Row is an historic district in Louisville, Kentucky located on Main St., just a block from the Ohio River. In the mid-to-late 1800s, buildings on the 101-133 block of Main St. were built and used to store whiskey barrels from distilleries in the area. Among the liquor companies who set up shop here was Old Forester.

Prohibition saw the closure of these facilities and though the buildings were slated for demolition in 2011, an agreement between the city and preservationists saved Whiskey Row. In 2018 the brand returned to its 1880s former location on this historic block with the grand opening of its Old Forester Distilling Co.

As we mentioned in our Bourbon Breakdown, Old Forester was founded in 1870. With such a long history, the brand released an entire collection of bourbon reflecting back on its 150+ year heritage. The Old Forester Whiskey Row Series contains bourbon recreations which allow bourbon drinkers to get a taste of the brand’s past. Below we’ve gone over a few basic facts along with our Distiller’s Community Ratings to help you make your next bourbon purchase.

Old Forester 1870 Original Batch

In 1870, founder George Garvin Brown blended three whiskeys from three different distilleries to make a consistent flavor in his bourbon.

What to Know:

For this 1870 Original Batch, bourbon is batched from three different warehouse locations to replicate the flavor of the 1870 original bourbon. Additionally, each of the three bourbons entered the barrel at a different entry proof and they are different ages. It’s minimally filtered and bottled at 90 proof.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Rich caramel and toasted oak along with baked apples, vanilla and mint.

Avg US Price: $47
ABV: 45%
Community Rating: 3.54 out of 5 stars (627 Ratings)

Old Forester Whiskey Row: Old Forester 1870 Original BatchOld Forester 1870 Original Batch /Photo Credit: Old Forester

Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond

The name honors the date when the Bottled-in-Bond Act was established.

What to Know:

Of course, being a bottled-in-bond bourbon, this expression follows all BIB rules. That means it is the product of one distiller from one season; it is aged for a minimum of 4 years; and is bottled at 100 proof.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Vanilla, red apple, citrus peel, sweet and hot spices along with espresso and leather.

Avg US Price: $52
ABV: 50%
Community Rating: 3.74 out of 5 stars (922 Ratings)

Old Forester Whiskey Row: Old Forester 1897 Bottled in BondOld Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond /Photo Credit: Old Forester

Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky

In 1910, Old Forester had a fire which caused its bottling line to shut down. As a result, mature bourbon that was ready for bottling needed to be stored elsewhere until the bottling line was fixed. So Old Forester placed it in a secondary barrel.

What to Know:

To recreate that historic bottling, mature bourbon is aged in a secondary new barrel. It also enters at 100 proof which is much lower than the 125 proof maximum for the bourbon category. It’s bottled at 93 proof.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Dry vanilla, char smoke and soaked wood coupled with layers of chocolate, walnut liqueur and burnt sugars.

Avg US Price: $58
ABV: 46.5%
Community Rating: 4.01 out of 5 stars (1,201 Ratings)

Old Forester Whiskey Row: Old Forester 1910 Old Fine WhiskyOld Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky /Photo Credit: Old Forester

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style

Old Forester was one of the few whiskey makers allowed to sell whiskey for “medicinal purposes” during Prohibition.

What to Know:

Notably, during Prohibition, all whiskey needed to be bottled at 100 proof. With a barrel entry proof of 100, the Angel’s Share would have created a 115 proof whiskey at maturation. As a result, Old Forester has bottled this replication at 115 proof.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Sweet barrel notes of smoke, caramel and vanilla with holiday spices of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove.

Avg US Price: $61
ABV: 57.5%
Community Rating: 4.04 out of 5 stars (2,881 Ratings)

Old Forester Whiskey Row: Old Forester 1920 Prohibition StyleOld Forester 1920 Prohibition Style /Photo Credit: Old Forester


Ready to do your own Old Forester Whiskey Row comparisons?

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