Brown Forman Throwdown

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Brown Forman Throwdown

Unread postby Mike » Fri Dec 21, 2007 8:52 pm

Well, here it is the night before the night before the night before the night before Christmas and all through the house only me and my ever faithful dog are shaking a leg.

We decided to do another throwdown to get the holiday festivities started aright. This time we chose three from Brown Forman. They are as follows: Old Forester Signature at 100 proof, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (13 YO, bottled in 2007) at 94 , and WoodFord Reserve Distillers Select at 90.4 proof. Neither the Signature nor the Woodford have age statements so I am just guessing that they average about 6 to 8 years old. Maybe someone on BE knows their age.

Each of my glasses contains about 30 ml of whiskey. There is no appreciable difference in the color of the three. The Signature has the sharpest nose, due in part no doubt to the higher alcohol. But the rye fruitiness is more prominent too. The Woodford is obviously a near realtive, with a similiar nose but slightly less forceful and a bit more toward the nutty in aroma.

As good as the first two are (and they both have very good noses), the Birthday doesn't seem to belong in the same family. It has some nice tea like scents (tannins from the 13 years in the wood?) that are engaging, along with some chocolaty citrus that is very appealing.

The Birthday Boy gets my vote for the richness and interesting aromas that he generates.

The Woodford has nice upfront thick sweetness that succumbs to some pepper and dry heat toward the back. The flavors are not multidimensional and end up being a bit on the dull side to me. Not a bad pour at all, but there are no blinking lights on my savoring module.

The Signature bourbon has a bit more zip and flavor but again, while being a very good bourbon, me and the dog ain't dancing to it. I think it is a bit fuller flavored than Woodford, and they are both pretty dry toward the finish.

A body could do worse than choosing either the Signature or the Woodford, but I would probably have to take Grandma a sip, she might just not be willing to come down for one on her own.

'Barleycorn!' 'Go ax Grandma if she will come down for a sip of Woodford.' Barleycorn say she say, 'Nope'.

Now, me and BC finding our groove with Birthday. Signature and Woodford play in the 'Dry Pepper' league and they semi-pro. But Birthday Boy, he play in the 'Lay Back' league with the Big Boys. He has some 'class', some depth, he can play any position. He can be the pitcher and the catcher on the self same throw, a feat only accomplished before by the great Dizzy Dean in his dreams.

Would I lie? Would my dog lie? Of course not. We, all both of us, think the Birthday Boy is one fine whiskey. It has complexity, it has balance, it has interesting flavors, it finishes nicely. It has no apparent weaknesses and treats the mouth like a king right the way across.

'Barleycorn!' 'Go see do Grandma want a sip of Birthday Boy.'

Barleycorn say she say she be right down! She like to sing cowboy songs too!
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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Unread postby bunghole » Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:05 pm

I'm with you Mike. I really love all the different expressions of Birthday Bourbon that I have tried although I haven't had them all and have yet to try the 2007.
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Unread postby Mike » Tue Dec 25, 2007 9:40 pm

bunghole wrote:I'm with you Mike. I really love all the different expressions of Birthday Bourbon that I have tried although I haven't had them all and have yet to try the 2007.


'Tis my intent to recfify that shortly after Christmas, a bottle of 2007 Birthday Bourbon will find its way to your door..............not out of my generousity, which is invariably selfish, but in hopes that you will pen one of your perceptive reviews. I am curious to see if you find it as good as I do..........and, if you don't, well............you could be wrong you know!

(What one gives with one hand, one often tries to take back in another form with the other.)
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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Unread postby bunghole » Wed Dec 26, 2007 1:06 am

Many Thanks Brother Mike!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Linn
"A Kind Word Never Broke A Tooth."
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Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:04 am

Mike,
Brown-Forman uses the heated warehouses and "cycle" their bourbon with periods of heat and cold in the winter. They believe that this matures the bourbon faster so they do not use age statements on their products. They would argue that Signature is the equivelent of about a 10yo bourbon even though it averages 7 or 8yo bourbon.

I would agree that cycling the warehouses does change the flavor profile. Is that accelerated aging? I don't know. It would be interesting to place two barrels of whiskey in warehouses - one cycled and the other not - and compare them after 4 years, then 6 years and then 8 years. They would be different in taste, but is all of that due to age or does the heat have something to do with the flavor change independent of the wood?

I like the Birthday Bourbons. What I like best is the differences from year to year. I had a chance to taste 2008's choice last September and I think it will be the most interesting yet. People may not always like the differences in flavor profiled each year, but they will always learn something about bourbon taste by trying Birthday Bourbon every year. You must remember that this simply Old Forester, made like any other Old Forester, but subject to changes in the aging process by position in the warehouse.
Mike Veach
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Unread postby Mike » Wed Dec 26, 2007 6:49 pm

But there is an age statement on at least the 2007 Birthday bourbon. And I am presuming that it is in fact especially selected Old Forrester. Which, as you point out, can lead to a different profile from OF and even from each year's product.

As I said, I have always found it to be excellent, wiith the 2007 being the best in my opinion.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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Unread postby Dump Bucket » Sat Dec 29, 2007 3:12 am

xx xxx
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