So every other day, we get asked, “What’s a really good <insert booze here> ?”, and our answer will always be, “The one you enjoy, of course”. But when pressed with a, “No – seriously …”, I’ll rattle off a label or two of something I’ve recently had the good fortune of tasting. But hey – that’s MY palate. One guy.
This same question came up recently for bourbon – “What’s a really good bourbon out there that won’t break the bank?” Well, as luck would have it, I’ve had one recently that put a smile on my face, and I can now say it’s not just MY palate, but over 30 of the finest palates in booze-dom! Spirits experts from fancy restaurants, expensive hotels, big newspapers, glossy magazines, booze buyers and consultants. These people tasted over 1,200 spirits from 61 countries! And it was the Old Forester that received their highest honor – a San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold Medal!
Well, next to the highest honor – they also pick a “Best Bourbon” from the double gold winners – and guess what? Old Forester again, but it was their “Birthday Bourbon”, which despite a cool bottle and being aged for 12 years (a lot for a bourbon), does tend to smack you upside the head with an oak board and takes “delicious” up only a slight notch. Still awesome – so if you want to go $50, do it. However, if you want to keep it around $20 – go for the little brother in price, but the big brother in proof, the Signature.
Its nose reminded me of my go-to bourbon – Woodford Reserve. Caramel-covered cherries and spicy butterscotch. A sip and BAM! What a complex symphony of tastes! A little citrus sweetness, then smokey spiced caramel toffee. The caramel vanilla and slight pepper finish goes on forever, and it’s warm but smooth – you don’t get the heat you’d expect from 100 proof.
I drank it “neat” but bet it would make a helluva Egg Nog. Or Manhattan!