There are many iconic American whiskey brands on the market. Old Forester has the unique capacity to call itself the oldest continuously produced brand and the first to be exclusively offered in sealed bottles. Yes, the distillery was one of only six in the country allowed to continue operations during Prohibition.
George Gavin Brown founded the brand in 1870. As a pharmaceutical salesman, Brown understood the need to keep things people would ingest sterile. He also knew there were shady characters who would add nasty things to barrels of whiskey to stretch stocks and increase profits (which led to the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897). The solution was to prepackage his whiskey in sealed bottles.
Brown teamed up with George Forman (not the infamous prizefighter), and their company was called Brown-Forman. When Forman passed away in 1901, Brown bought out Forman’s half of the organization but retained the name. In 1917, when George died, his son, Owsley, took the helm and kept the business growing. Today, 153 years later, Brown-Forman is publicly traded, and the Chairman of the Board is George Gavin Brown IV.
The 117 Series of whiskies from Old Forester is their limited edition label that debuted in the fall of 2021. The newest edition, just released, is called Warehouse H.
“Warehouse H is symbolic of Old Forester’s growth after WWII. Construction on the brick warehouse began in 1946, housing 50,000 barrels. The four story, eight chamber warehouse was designed to be heat cycled in the winter months when temperatures dropped below 60 degrees and the maturation process ceased. Warehouse H is unusual in its heat cycling profile with the 1st floor sometimes hitting the highest temperatures.” – Old Forester
Warehouse H Bourbon is made from the same mash as its other Bourbons: 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. It goes into the barrel at 125°, sleeping the next several years in #3-charred oak. Warehouse H is available at the distillery or if you book a stay at Old Forester’s “The Sleepeasy,” a Prohibition-themed apartment on Whiskey Row. A 375ml, 49% ABV (98°) package retails for $59.99.
I must thank Old Forester for this opportunity to #DrinkCurious. The sample was sent in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Appearance: I sipped this Bourbon neat from my Glencairn glass. Inside, the liquid presented as cinnamon brown. It generated a thinner rim that released wide, wavy tears.
Nose: The aroma consisted of lemon peel, cherry, plum, cinnamon powder, and toasted oak. The cherry and plum notes stood out. A punch of caramel rolled through my mouth when I drew that air inside.
Palate: Thick and oily, the texture allowed me to concentrate on this Bourbon’s flavors. It began with caramel, vanilla, and graham crackers. I found lemon and orange zests, plum, and cherry as it moved to mid-palate. The back offered tastes of toasted oak, chocolate, and clove.
Finish: Citrus remained throughout the finish, accompanied by vanilla, caramel, rye spice, and oak. It warmed my mouth and throat and lasted several minutes.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Ignoring a couple of Old Forester Birthday Bourbons I’ve tried over the years, Warehouse H may be my favorite Old Forester I’ve sipped yet. I love 1920; I have had some incredible Single Barrels, and this one eclipses them all. It is a shame that this can’t be procured other than at the distillery because I would love to pick up a Bottle for my whiskey library. If you come across this, don’t pass it up. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.