This Old Forester 1910 review is as much about a company that focuses on making quality products, regardless of circumstance, as it is about the Whiskey Row bourbon. Whiskey Row encompasses all four Old Forester special release bourbons. They bear labels naming them for monumental years in Old Forester’s history. Two of the years are monumental in general whiskey history: the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 and Prohibition’s start in 1920. The two other years are notable to Old Forester alone. You can start with our review of Whiskey Row 1870, which recreates the first year in the brand’s history.
This review focuses on 1910, and it’s an exceptional choice for the company to highlight this specific year. It’s remarkable because, in 1910, a fire caused the Old Forester bottling line to halt production and caused a crisis for the brand. In the following Old Forester 1910 review, we’ll talk about how they handled the crisis after the fire, review the 1910 bourbon, and highlight Instagram Influencers who prefer this bourbon to all other Whiskey Row expressions.
The Old Forester Fire of 1910
While it sounds dramatic, the fire that shut down the bottling line was next door in a neighbor’s offices, not in the Old Forester distillery itself. The effects were immediate, however. At the head of the bottling line sat a vat of matured whiskey, ready to bottle in bond and already diluted to 100 proof. They’d suffer huge losses if they couldn’t find something to do with the whiskey, and they weren’t able to put it into bottles.
Instead, with some on-the-fly thinking, they put the already matured bourbon back into brand new oak barrels. They were, in essence, double-oaking the bourbon, which wouldn’t become trendy for another 110 years. These days there are plenty of options for double-oaked bourbon, but we feel comfortable crediting Old Forester with the first iteration, even if they did it to save money and prevent a lot of waste, rather than to create a specific flavor profile.
The New Label…
Back then, Old Forester had to create a new label. They couldn’t call this new bourbon Bottled in Bond since it was so different from their standard bourbon. They called it Very Fine Old Whiskey, giving a nod to Cognac labeling which uses “Very Special Old” to designate spirits aged over four years. In the Whiskey Row bottling, Old Forester refined the process of re-barreling the spirit. At four years they empty the barrels and dilute the spirit to 100 proof, just like in 1910. (They skip the part with the fire and shutting down the bottling line.) They put it back into different barrels with a heavier char for another six to nine months. At that point, they dilute down to 96 proof and bottle.
Our Old Forester 1910 Review
If you love oak, roast, and chocolate notes in your bourbon, you will have trouble coming back from double-oaked bourbons. There’s more roasted wood, sweetness, and smoothness that comes with doubling the time in barrels. If you’ve read our other bourbon reviews, you know that barrel aging refines a spirit, giving character and approachability to high-proof grain alcohol. The barrel is the difference between moonshine and sophisticated spirits. So, double the barrel, double the sophistication.
At this point, it’s worth noting that double-oak isn’t the same thing as just letting a spirit age longer. Old Forester that ages for four years and nine months won’t taste like Old Forester 1910. A fresh barrel brings new char and fresh wood sugars, and the dry barrels draw out more of the spirit into the “angel’s share.” Especially because Old Forester puts a heavy char on the second barrel. They roast it for 60 seconds–three times the normal amount of toast their oak barrels get.
The Perfect Dessert Bourbon…
Many Old Forester 1910 reviews call it the perfect dessert bourbon, which we’ll agree with here. It’s fiercer than their flagship bourbon, so for new bottles, we recommend letting the spirit sit for a day or two in a decanter. As they aerate, you’ll get a fuller expression of the flavors and more nuance to the nose of the spirit. So how does it taste?
Think rich caramel and spicy vanilla on the nose. Your first sips will get burnt marshmallows, dark berries, dark chocolate, and spice. The viscosity and richness make this an ideal bourbon for bitter winter nights, classic cocktails, and fireside chats. Pair it with a dark chocolate dessert to pull out greater nuance from the spirit.
IG Love for Whiskey Row 1910 Bourbon
@mi_bourbon_hunter is Making Their Way Through Whiskey Row
“I’ve really enjoyed this bottle of @oldforester 1910. The bottle of 1920 won’t last long now. Cheers! ”
@broke4bourbon Got a Bottle Right at the Source
“Did not know this is Double Oaked, could not grab one fast enough! It is delicious! ”
@bourbonstagram Can Smell the Double Oak
“Occasionally, I encounter a bourbon that wows me even before first sip. This is one of those pours. I just love the explosion of caramel on the nose!”
@the_bourbon_life Picked a Good One for Their Daily Sipper
“This @oldforester 1910 is quickly becoming one of our favorite daily drinkers. .At 93 Proof it’s easy to sip and with the banana notes it reminds us of the Little Debbie Banana Twins we used to eat as kids…”
@312suburbanbourbon Knows How to Celebrate Women
“When you know.. you know! @jackiezykan did a fantastic job selecting these bottles. Celebrating her and all the women in the distillery industry on #internationalwomensday today! These are my two favorites of the Whiskey Row Collection!”
Final Notes on Old Forester 1910 Review
If you’ve never tried a double-oaked bourbon, we recommend sampling a few different distilleries. It may not be your everyday sipper, especially if you’re not a “dessert person.” But if you’re setting up a home bar, or getting more into bourbon tasting, it’s worth investing in uncommon bourbon expressions. Think beyond just the age on the label for finding bourbon you love. Wheated bourbons, double-oaked, sherry-cask finished, and over-proof are all different ways of enjoying bourbon.
Double-oaking is an exceptional way of finishing bourbon, and most major distilleries just started releasing their expressions within the past couple of years. Old Forester 1910 is more modestly priced than some others. Plus, when you fill a friend’s glass, you can tell them the story about how Old Forester created the process.
Have you tried any other double-oaked bourbons? Let us know what you’re excited about in the comments below!