Next, alphabetically, is Old Forester. I'm happy that Old Forester is part of this review series because I haven't tried it before, and without the review, who knows when I would have sampled it. Let's see if it is worth of being tried again.
Old Forester, like Early Times, is produced by Brown-Forman. It is a Kentucky straight "whisky" (spelled without the "e," a subject of some debate ) and clocks in at 86 proof. Old Forester is known to be America's first bottled bourbon, which is to say that it was the first to be sold solely in distillery-sealed bottles. I think this ensured that the bourbon wasn't tampered with prior to the sale and thus guranteed quality.
Neat: The nose presented cinnamon toast and dark fruits/black cherry. There's some spiciness, too. Mouthfeel was watery, and didn't hint at taste. As for taste, the rye comes through assertively. I was expecting to get some maltiness, but I couln't find any. There is also a dankness in the background, like a musty basement. At the end is when the sweetness pops its head in. Quickly. Old Forester finishes with a definite tannic burn but isn't overpowering. Oak and some char are in there as well.
Whiskey Sour: When mixed, Old Forester's rye bite was still there, as was it astringency. I'm not sure if I liked the sour better with Old Forester or Evan Williams. That makes me think it's close enough to call it a draw. So, in keeping with my thoughts on Evan Williams, the sour is average, and being average doesn't mean I won't drink a few or more of them. It's not a memorable experience, but who really needs it to be?
In sum, Old Forester 86 proof is a great value. I rank it together with Evan Williams, so while ahead of Ancient Age, it's just behind Early Times. As I mentioned, this was my first experience with Old Forester, and it gave me a firm handshake but had little to say. I think you could easily do worse.