The Latest Old Forester 117 Series Is a 1910 Fan’s Dream

Old Forester 117 Series 1910 Extra Old.

Lovers of Old Forester 1910, get ready for a pint-sized new unicorn. Jackie Zykan and Old Forester have announced the release of the third expression in the 117 Series, 1910 Extra Old.

The 117 Series is named for the distillery’s address on Main St in Louisville, and the peek that these releases give us behind closed doors in this historic space. The 375ml line launched with High Angel’s Share in spring of last year and was followed by Warehouse K. And now, with 1910 Extra Old, the first finished whiskey will join the line.

“This release in The 117 Series is a curious exploration into the intensity of the proprietary heavily charred 1910 barrel,” Master Taster Jackie Zykan said. “This liquid was allowed to rest for 18 months in this secondary barrel, extracting significantly more of the heavily charred influence.”

1910 Extra Old draws from the distillery’s popular Whisky Row Series Old Forester 1910. “On October 22, 1910, a fire on the bottling line halted the production of Old Forester. Mature whisky ready to be bottled was instead stored in a second barrel. What emerged was a delightful whisky, remarkable enough to become an entirely new expression – Old Fine Whisky,” says the distillery in a press release. The modern iteration of 1910 Old Fine Whisky was launched as part of the Whisky Row Series in 2018 – and the distillery sold through a year’s supply in just three months. While there are still a few gaps on shelves, it’s become a bit easier to find these days and the distillery acclimated to demand.

“The standard Old Forester barrel gets about a 22 second char on it,” said Zykan back in 2018, but this second 1910 barrel gets more than double that. She says it actually exceeds the 50 second mark. “So it is like cooked,” she explains. “The barrel is charred, charred, charred. We took it up as high as we could before it wasn’t going to be viable to hold liquid anymore.”

With 18 months in a barrel like that, we expect decadently sweet notes with a balance of dryness. Tasting notes provided by the distillery describe notes of dark brown sugar, sugared pecan, and rich chocolate on the nose, with a palate that brings a medium-bodied expression with a depth of warmth that swiftly transitions from sweet notes of intense caramel to the spice of dried tobacco, and a balanced finish that is gently rounded out with notes of green apple and raw walnut. 1910 Extra Old is bottled at 93 proof, the same as the standard 1910.

Fans of Brown-Forman’s other Kentucky Bourbon distillery Woodford Reserve will see the parallels to the cult favorite Double Double Oaked, an annually released Distillery Series expression that ages Woodford’s Double Oaked an extra year. Just a few years ago, Double Double Oaked would sit on distillery shelves for a month or more, with visitors able to pick up a bottle any time. Now, the annual Double Double release draws a crowd from all over the country, selling out in a day.

Old Forester 1910 Extra Old will be available starting February 23rd at the retail shop at Old Forester Distilling Co. and in select states for direct-to-consumer sales for $49.99 in limited quantities — and at select Kentucky stores.

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.