Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is touted as a "vintage-dated" bourbon, meaning the bourbon is made up of whiskey from production day - not from a blend of differently aged bourbons (like the standard Old Forester). The bourbon is 12 years old, making it relatively old for a bourbon. OFBB is bottled at 98 proof and is sold in a squat decanter-type bottle (which is aethstically nice, but its footprint takes up a lot of real estate in the liquor cabinet...)
Old Forester Birthday is a rich, warm shade of mahogany, indicating the long time spent in the barrel. Its nose is soft, with cinnamon and allspice, candy apple, honey, and some tabacco notes way in the back. The nose is very surprisingly not too hot considering the high proof. Mouthfeel is thick and warm, but not syrupy. OFBB's taste begins with fresh-ground black pepper, which dissolves into a woody dryness with whisps of orange peel, a slight Campari-like bitterness, and just a hint of cocoa. Old Forester Birthday has a long, complex finish that starts with a quick flash of ethanol burn that evolves into a ripe sweetness on the roof of your mouth and a simultaneous oaky dryness on the tongue. It then mellows to a lingering sweet nuttiness.
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is certainly a premium bourbon. It is complex and surprising and hides its high proof very well, allowing its varied character to present itself. I am a big fan of the standard 100 proof bottling of Old Forester. I think I may be becoming a fan of it's older brother, too.