The Battle of Birthday Bourbons - '10 vs '09

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The Battle of Birthday Bourbons - '10 vs '09

Unread postby Mike » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:33 pm

The 2010 edition is 12 years old, is 95 proof, and it cost $37. The '09 is 12 years old, is 97 proof, and costs about the same as the '10.

NOSE:
The '10 opens with a complex woody aroma with a bit of ginger, leather, rye, juniper, dark fruits, and light vanilla/caramel..........moderately spicy. The nose is a lot more spicy than the '09 release and less softened by the wood tannins I find so much in evidence in the '09.

TASTE:
A warm, sweet, and rich thickness greets the front of the mouth with the '10. The cinnamony/gingery peppery spice sweeps across the mid-palate on to the back of the mouth, where it dies more quickly than I expected. I find the '10 to be richer, sweeter, with the nose-promised dark fruits, and just a skosh more spicy than the '09........but not as subtle. For those who did not think the '09 suited their palates, they will likely find the '10 more to their taste. It is an excellent bourbon. The dark chocolate of the '09, not present in the '10, is either created by the tannins or abetted by them........I do not know which.

FINISH:
I find the finish on the '10 to be slightly short........and I know of no reason that should be the case, since it has a nice dose of mid-palate spice that I expected to linger longer. The '09 has a longer finish, for what that is worth.

CONCLUSION:
My opinion is that most bourbon lovers will prefer the '10 to the '09 because of its balanced combination of rich sweetness, dark fruit flavors (cherries come to mind), mild drying oak, and zinging spice. It is excellent for those very qualities.

However, for me the '09 is the superior bourbon. The subtlety that comes (my opinion) from the perfect dosage of tannins, even at the cost of some richness, outweighs its tendency toward the sour and bitter (again the dark chocolate). And, the soft sweetness of the '09 is carried to a lengthy and almost delicate finish by those very tannins (again, only my mangy opinion).

Brown Foreman reveals a bit of useful information about the character of these bourbons in the label tags. The '09 tag states that the bourbon barrels were stored in warehouses B (a smaller warehouse) and J (a larger warehouse) on the 5th and 8th floors respectively. These warehouses (according to the tag) exposed the barrels to a great degree of heat during the summer months, which resulted in a rich complex maturation profile.

The '10 tag states that the barrels for this release were stored in warehouse K, on the 5th floor in ricks 42, 43, and 45, surrounded by open space. This environment (according to the tag) allowed the barrels to easily breathe during maturation and develop a rich fruit and spice character.

P.S. For those interested, my opinions were composed before I read the tags, but seem to bear them out. Never once, of course, do the tags mention tannins or dryness in either of these bourbons.

I think comparing the '09 Birthday Bourbon to the '10 Birthday Bourbon shows the importance of location in the storage warehouse, and, to my way of thinking, the effects warehouse location has on what might be called 'accelerated' aging. The '09 Birthday Bourbon tastes more like a 15+ year old bourbon to me........and this is too old for many folks liking.
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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Re: The Battle of Birthday Bourbons - '10 vs '09

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:26 pm

Put me in the column of preferring the 2010 to the 2009.
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Re: The Battle of Birthday Bourbons - '10 vs '09

Unread postby Rickey Rotten » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:20 pm

I had to google to find out you were talking about Old Forester. I haven't seen the birthday batch in the stores here.
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Re: The Battle of Birthday Bourbons - '10 vs '09

Unread postby vince » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:33 am

I think the 2010 is fantastic and I have purchased 4 bottles, however, I feel the 2009 offered a complexity and finish that was missing in the 2010. I prefer the 2009 but think both are exceptional bourbons and well worth the price.
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Re: The Battle of Birthday Bourbons - '10 vs '09

Unread postby bourbonsnob » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:56 pm

Haven't tried the 2010, but I can say with certainty that the '09 is the worst bourbon i've ever tasted. Soooo unbalanced. All I, and everyone I've shared it with, could taste is overpowering anise, metal and harsh oak. I've sampled many 'difficult' bourbons in my time but this stuff is just plain bad. Call me once bitten twice shy, but I don't think I have it in me to risk $40+ on the 2010.
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Re: The Battle of Birthday Bourbons - '10 vs '09

Unread postby SourMashManifesto » Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:07 am

For me the 09 was just a very very average Bourbon Whiskey. I've frankly felt they've been on a fairly significant downturn with this for a number of year. The 2010 is outstanding. Just a force of flavor. Mike I think you covered the flavor and the balance very well. I did a review on my site also and we are of similar thoughts.....except where the 2009. I do understand what you are saying to a degree but what I see is a immense one sided harshness to that whiskey - barrel tannin in spades, and really an almost acrid back note. It also lacked the sweetness, richness, and fruitiness to the level the 2010 brings to the table.

Great notes though man!
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Re: The Battle of Birthday Bourbons - '10 vs '09

Unread postby delaware_phoenix » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:32 am

Was down in the city last night, and found a bottle of the 2010. Haven't had a chance to open it yet, but looking forward to it.
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Re: The Battle of Birthday Bourbons - '10 vs '09

Unread postby snakeman48 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:20 pm

Was in my favorite store across the state line form me, and found both 2010, and 2009 Birthday Bourbons. Bought both.
But I yet to open them. I stashed the in the bunker for now. Got too many opened bottles right now.
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Re: The Battle of Birthday Bourbons - '10 vs '09

Unread postby Mike » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:06 pm

Redid my throwdown of BD bourbons. Simply don't know why more folks don't find the '09 to be better than they do. Now, mind you, the '10 is excellent, but it doesn't go as deep as the '09 to my palate. I enjoy that oak dryness, adds complexity to the sweetness. A simple matter of taste differences, I suppose.
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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Re: The Battle of Birthday Bourbons - '10 vs '09

Unread postby Mike » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:12 pm

snakeman48 wrote:Was in my favorite store across the state line form me, and found both 2010, and 2009 Birthday Bourbons. Bought both.
But I yet to open them. I stashed the in the bunker for now. Got too many opened bottles right now.


I 'spect I have 90 opened bottles, some may even get better as they enter the bottom half of the bottle.

Open them BD boys, open 'em! Sip 'em, sip 'em. Enjoy 'em, enjoy 'em.

Don't wait 'til the others in your bar have been emptied before moving on to new ones. I love standing in front of many bottles and deciding which one to try tonight. That is the best way to learn your own palate..........and to see how it changes.
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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