Old Forester Introduces The Presidents’ Choice

New expression available at Old Forester Distilling Co. references historical selections of 1890s, 1960s

With the opening of its new distillery on Louisville’s Whiskey Row, Old Forester will reintroduce The President’s Choice, a single barrel expression of Old Forester’s most exceptional barrels, selected by the president of Old Forester. The President’s Choice will be available in extremely limited quantities, exclusively at the Old Forester Distilling Co. and limited Kentucky retailers.

The President’s Choice was historically, and is today, driven by the palate of Old Forester’s current president. Each barrel in the modern iteration is hand-selected by Campbell Brown, Old Forester president and fifth generation Brown family member, under the guidance of Master Taster Jackie Zykan.

“As we made plans for our new downtown distillery, we knew wanted to offer some very special whisky for our visitors. I remembered seeing bottles selected by my grandfather through The President’s Choice program on family back bars for years,” said Brown. “It’s a real treat to reintroduce this program and carry on the tradition of selecting these very special barrels.”

Referencing prior iterations of The President’s Choice, the barrels will be typically aged eight years and will vary in the historical range of 110 – 120 proof. The President’s Choice will be offered at the suggested retail price of $89.99.

“Though each will show distinct characteristics, these single barrels exhibit the true core of Old Forester: balance. The multitude of flavors present are distinct and harmonizing. The whisky presents sound structure with a full profile from aroma to finish,” said Zykan.

Because The President’s Choice expressions are barrels that represent the foremost quality the Old Forester brand has to offer, they will be released only when said barrels reach maturity and demonstrate a remarkable taste profile.

Though the tradition of special selections by the President dates back nearly 130 years, the bottle and label of today’s President’s Choice references that of 1964, when then-president George Garvin Brown II introduced The President’s Choice. That product was sold by the barrel and each was personally selected by Brown II. Mr. Brown passed away unexpectedly in 1969 and the last barrels personally selected by him were depleted in 1972.

The first specially selected barrels of Old Forester date back to 1890 when Brown-Forman and Old Forester founder and president George Garvin Brown presented a personalized bottle to the Governor of Kentucky, Simon Bolivar Bucker. The program was first formalized in 1946 by Brown-Forman President and George Garvin Brown’s son, Owsley Brown. These notable selections were not available for purchase and only available to VIPs, executives and other dignitaries.

The President’s Choice selections will be available, along with other Old Forester expressions, for purchase at the Old Forester Distilling Co., which will open to the public on June 15, 2018. Tickets and tour information is available at OldForester.com.

The $45 million, 70,000 square foot distillery will guide guests through the Bourbon making process from fermentation and distillation, to the barrel-making, aging and bottling of America’s First Bottled Bourbon. It’s the only downtown distillery with a fully-operational cooperage. Old Forester Distilling Co. will join ten other distilleries as an official member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour.



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.