Classification: Straight Bourbon
Distillery: Brown-Forman Shively Distillery
Release Date: July 2023
Age: NAS (Aged at least 4 years per TTB regulations)
Mashbill: 72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
MSRP: $60 (2023)
Rush of summer fruits | Confectioner's sugar | Strawberry shortcake | Apricots | Caramelized sugar | Faint caramel | A bundle of delicious sweet scents
Strawberries & cream | Angel food cake | Stone fruits | Charred oak | Slight fennel seeds | Light rye spice | Very well balanced
Gentle peppercorn spice | Touch of dark berries | Dry oak | Leather | Burnt caramel | Light angel food cake | Long gentle warming heat
Old Forester 117 Series Bottled in Bond makes you wish all Old Forester Bottled in Bond bourbons could taste this good.
The Old Forester 117 Series is usually a way for the company to highlight more experimental releases. While they may not push the envelope compared to other brands' experimental lines, it still affords fans of Old Forester a way to taste a one-off whiskey, such as Old Forester 117 Series Extra Extra Old. This is why the 117 Series' latest release is somewhat of a head-scratcher at first glance. Old Forester 117 Series Bottled in Bond does not push any new boundaries in terms of style, seeing as the brand already has an ongoing bottled in bond bourbon with their 1897 Bottled in Bond Bourbon.
According to the company’s press release, “in accordance with the 1897 Bottled in Bond Act, this product is bottled from barrels filled during a single distillation season – the wet and warm late Spring of 2014.” And that right there is most likely the distinguishing factor. While Old Forester 117 Series Bottled in Bond is a no age statement whiskey, it’s safe to assume this bourbon is around 9 years old, assuming it was aging in barrels since being distilled and never put in a steel tank for storage during that time.
Does the presumably extra time spent in the barrel make a difference? The answer is a surprisingly enthusiastic yes! The sip starts off with a fantastic nose that is full of sweet delicious scents, with rich summer fruits, strawberry shortcake, and confectioner's sugar gripping your nostrils. The palate follows in a similar fashion, delivering decadent notes strawberries and cream, angel food cake, and stone fruits which are nicely complemented by fennel and rye spice. The sip ends with sweeter and drier flavors nicely mingling together before fading away, leaving a long gentle warming heat in their wake.
I’ve found the Old Forester 117 Series to be consistently above average or better pours since the series was released, and this latest Old Forester 117 Series Bottled in Bond release is no exception. While the brand's standard 1897 Bottled in Bond Bourbon is a solid pour, the 117 Series version really takes the brand's ability to create a next level bottled in bond bourbon. This release proved to be my favorite of the series yet, and it makes me wish that Brown-Forman would elevate their standard 1897 Bottled in Bond product to this level so that consumers could enjoy it on a consistent basis.