This is a single barrel Jack Daniels rye expression from Brown-Forman that was introduced this year. It’s bottled at 47% ABV and NAS (thought to be around 4 years old).
Nose: Weird, but interesting. The rye notes are there coming off as freshly milled rye grain, but that super sweet banana Brown-Forman signature is still there (and quite strong). Not used to nosing a very, very sweet rye – in this case the sugary/candy bananas overshadow the rye to a degree.
Palate: Banana candies, eucalyptus, gingerbread, rye getting stronger after the first sip adding some nice spice with a perfectly balanced oak alongside it.
Finish: Rye really shines here with some banana cream pie in the background.
Rating: 85/100 – I don’t want to describe this as a novelty rye, but it really sort of is with how sweet and fruity it is. Every once in awhile I’ll find a rye that has some mild fruits, but this is on another level which makes this pretty unique in the world of single barrel ryes. If you don’t like sweeter notes in your ryes though, I’d probably stay away from this one.
Value for the money: These retail around $50, and I think that’s a pretty fair price for what you get – you could argue it really belongs closer to $35-$40, but I think $50 is still ok. I wouldn’t go much higher than that though.
This is a NAS barrel proof single barrel expression distilled by Brown-Forman. The proof in these single barrels range across different batches.
Nose: Classic Brown-Forman – overwhelming banana notes and very sweet all around. Strawberry-rhubarb pie, peppermint candies, and chocolate cake.
Palate: Strawberry hard candies (with the strawberry printed wrappers – whatever those are called), buttercream frosted cake, mint leaves, and dry oak.
Finish: Turns very hot and dry suddenly with loads of oak as the heat intensifies.
Rating: 82/100 – If you like super sweet bourbons, Brown-Forman tends to hit those notes for me. The nose and palate were quite nice, but the finish was a big letdown. It’s like all the heat was bottled up until it explodes right at the end.
Value for the money: These retail for $65 which I think is a pretty fair price all in all.
This is a NAS expression from Brown-Forman referred to as Split DSP due to the listing of distillation at DSP 354 and bottling at DSP 414 when Brown-Forman was moving facilities. It’s bottled at 50% ABV.
Nose: Loads of spices up front with french vanilla and molasses. Oak is fairly minimal but presents a bit of a musty character overall.
Palate: Wet cardboard with brown sugars and heavy oak.
Finish: Dry and short with notes of peanuts and oak.
Value for the money: I think these go for $100+ on the secondary, and they’re not worth that. I’d pay maybe $20 at a store for a bottle.
This is an older bottling of Old Forrester that was bottled at 43% ABV.
Nose: Loads of cinnamon with fruit medley. Young oak with a strong anise note.
Palate: Honey and anise up front with mild oak, peach, and some herbal notes.
Finish: Apples & cinnamon.
Value for the money: On the shelf these were probably $15 or so which is a good buy.
This is a part of Brown-Forman’s Old Forrester line which is NAS and bottled at 50% ABV.
Nose: Very light and delicate overall – rich vanilla chased by classic BF sweet fruits: green apple, bananas, and apricot. Oak is very subtle and telling me this is probably around 4-6 years old. Brown sugar and caramel notes toward the back.
Palate: Tastes quite hot for 50% ABV. Vanilla, caramel, and fruits up front with oak mingled with leather and vegetal notes.
Finish: Short and dry while slightly sweet and nutty with vanilla.
Value for the money: These retail for around $20 which isn’t bad, but I’d probably rather buy an OGD 114 at that price.
This is the Spring 2003 version of the Old Forrester Birthday Bourbon (OFBB) which is a yearly limited release from Brown-Forman. It was bottled at 46.5% ABV.
Nose: Huge vanilla up front with oak and honey following. Plenty of fruits in typical BF style – bananas, watermelon, and cantaloupe.
Palate: Very sweet overall with cantaloupe and black pepper alongside the honey and oak.
Finish: Hotter and a bit spicier with vanilla and creamed corn.
Rating: 93/100 – Very unique for me in the range of OFBB, but I haven’t had a lot that are this old.
Value for the money: Not sure what this expression goes for, but I’d guess $300ish. I would say it’s not worth that and to just try to find one of the newer releases when they come out. The retail is often close to $50, so they’re a great buy. The profile is not quite as good as these really old ones, but it’s not $250 better.
Old Forrester Birthday Bourbon (OFBB) is an annual release from Brown-Forman. This 2009 OFBB is a 12 year expression bottled at 48.5% ABV.
Nose: Banana runts (classic Brown-Forman note for me), rich corn, sweet oak with a hint of caramel
Palate: Again, BF fruitiness here with spiced oak and prominent bananas
Finish: Fairly simple and short – oak with black pepper and mild fruits
Rating: 90/100 – I’m a Brown-Forman fan as I typically like my bourbons on the sweeter side and this one didn’t disappoint. The older OFBB bottles had something special about them too compared to the most recent few releases.
Value for the money: I paid $12 an oz for this and finished the bottle at Twisted Spoke in Chicago. Would gladly pay that again. A bottle of this on the secondary would run you closer to $200-$300 which is an easy pass.