Old Forester’s 2019 Birthday Bourbon Will be Highest Proof Yet

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2019. Courtesy Brown-Forman.
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2019. Courtesy Brown-Forman.

Old Forester has announced the 2019 Birthday Bourbon, the highest proof yet in the line.

This year’s expression is bottled at 105 proof, topping last year’s high of 101 proof. It is slightly younger than recent releases, aged 11 years, but Old Forester Master Distiller Chris Morris and Master Taster Jackie Zykan felt these barrels were something special. The team chose 120 barrels for the release, representing a full day of production at the distillery. The barrels were laid down on May 15, 2008 and aged on the second floor of Warehouse I.

“Birthday Bourbon selections have ranged from nine- to 14-years-old since the expression was first launched in 2002,” said Zykan in a press release this morning. “When selecting the barrels for this year, we found something truly exceptional in this lot and we’re proud to call it our 2019 Birthday Bourbon.”

The distillery offers tasting notes that include a nose of “butterscotch and toffee… supported by layers of sweet melon and cornbread,” a taste of “rich oak spice and blackcurrant instantly warm coupled with light maple, caramel cake and white floral notes,” and a finish of “peppermint tea sweetened with honey, with ever long Szechuan Peppercorn.”

Birthday Bourbon is released every year on September 2nd to celebrate the birthday of Old Forester founder George Garvin Brown. This year marks the 19th annual release. Like all Old Forester bourbon, it is crafted with a mash bill of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley.

“September is a special month for us at Old Forester. We get to mark, in a public manner, through a carefully curated expression; the bourbon my great, great grandfather founded. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the legacy George left behind,” said Campbell Brown, Old Forester President in a press release. “And yes, I wish it was easier to locate!”

Only 2,200 cases (a total of 13,200 bottles) of Birthday Bourbon will hit shelves this year, at a suggested retail price of around $100. Happy hunting!

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.