Comparing Old Forester Birthday Bourbons

OFBB 2004, 2005, 2018, 2010I have a lot of catching up to do from my trip to San Francisco.  I really am not big for plugging places, but this deserved it.  I went over to a bourbon bar called Hard Water http://hardwaterbar.com/ .  They have only been open for about 6 months, put I found a new love.  They are expensive, this is not a place for the faint of heart, cheap or poor.  But, Damn… they had a great Bourbon selection(about 250 different types).  I can’t name anywhere close to that.

The first thing I wanted to try was a flight of Old Forester Birthday Bourbons.  This and Booker’s were the two bourbons that really got me thinking beyond the Jim Beam Black that I drank before it(about 5 years ago).  So, it is near and dear to my heart.

My flight consisted of 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2010.

2004:
Light, clean, crisp.  It lingers well and finishes clean.  I have had all Birthday bourbons from 2004 -2013 and this ranks 4th on my list.  What I like about this is that the sweetness was a bit lower than the other birthday bourbons that I have tried.  It also had a great viscosity that allows the bourbon to linger on your pallet a bit more.  If you can get an ounce for <15 or less it is well worth it.  After that it is up to preferences.  Rating 8/10

2005:
Extremely surprised from the taste of this year.  It is so different than any other birthday bourbon.  The most well balanced version that I have tasted.  There is lots of oak notes that start this off, with high spice, then the sweetness rolls in and finished the taste.  This is hands down my favorite year of this bourbon.  I consider it the Arrogant Bastard Ale of Birthday Bourbons.  Full of flavor, but balanced extremely well.  To me, worth $25 a drink. Rating 10/10

2008:
It was a disappointment.  Light on the pallet and it does not linger well.  If you like softer, sweeter bourbons, you may like it… it’s not for me.  Rating 6/10

2010:
This is my second favorite year that BB was produced.  The best quality is that it just lingers forever.  You can take a sip and the sweet spice still lingers 5 minutes later.  You start will caramel flavors, then the burn hits with spice and the vanilla/butterscotchy sweetness comes and mellows it all out.  If you can find it, get it. Rating 9/10

All in all, if you can find OFBB, get it.  It is one of the best bourbons, especially for the price.  They come out each October and always run out quick!  If you have the chance to try some of the older version, it can be worth the price.  I would stay away from 2008, but the others are phenominal.  Each year sports many different notes which differentiates them well.

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