I Was Wrong: Old Forester 1920 Review

Spoiler alert. I was wrong about Old Forester 1920. If you follow Bourbonr you probably know that I’m not a fan of Brown-Forman. Nothing against the company as a whole. As far as I can tell they run a great organization. They’re responsible for some of the most popular whiskeys in the market (Jack Daniels, Woodford Reserve, and Old Forester to name a few). However, I’ve never loved anything they put out. I pick up a yearly Old Forester Birthday Bourbon but it seems to have decreased since 2013 with an increased price tag. You can read my review of Old Forester 1870 here. Because of my experience with other Old Forester bottles, I was hesitant to try the “Whiskey Row” series.

Old Forester released the “Whiskey Row” line in late 2014 to celebrate the distillery’s history. Old Forester was one of the six distilleries to hold a medicinal whiskey permit during prohibition. Each release represents a historical year for the distillery. Old Forester 1920 celebrates the Distillery history since 1920 was the year Prohibition started. I’ve seen others write good reviews for 1920. It’s been recommended countless times on the Bourbonr facebook group. I still held out. Finally, I decided I’ve spent $60 on worse bottles of bourbon so why not give it a shot.

Old Forester 1920 Bourbon Review

Proof: 115

Age: NAS

Price: $59

The nose is sweet but more caramel and fruity. It has a hint of the cherry nose I’m used to with Old Forester. But, this is much warmer and rounded. It’s spicy with notes of cinnamon and minty. The taste is where this one becomes impressive. It’s viscous and syrupy. It’s sweet and spicy. There’s a caramel apple or dark cherry note. The finish is more leathery and woody. It blends to oakiness towards the end.

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Conclusion: I stand corrected in regards to Old Forester. This is a great bourbon. It’s available and (somewhat) affordable. This became one of the highlights of the 2016 bourbon releases for me. I hope to see more releases with this flavor profile from OF in the near future.

I still don’t know how old this bourbon is. And, I’m not sure how “Prohibition” is a style. I still consider Old Forester 1920 a good buy. You can find Old Forester 1920 for $59 here.

17 comments

    I follow you often and respect your opinions. I like the entire “Whiskey Row” series. It’s nice to look at on the shelf, nice on the pallet and reasonable for the wallet. Happy you took a shot at it, and it sounds like you were not disappointed. In these days of inflated prices, and too much hype about those hard to find labels, this series is a breath of fresh air.

    I bought 14 bottles as soon as I tasted it. This bourbon is well beyond it’s age as a style. The color and taste out does and comes close to others like Belle and /Meade barrel proof at 9 years. Not quite the complexity but very close.

    i bought it today and it is so good i am going back to the store that has it so i can buy a few more bottles. i don’t want to risk not getting it in the future!

    I don’t care for the other Old Forester offerings but this is a good pour. It could be a little cheaper but like Blake says, I’ve paid $60 for worse. I do find this bourbon to be a bit hot, not in a bad way but the heat definitely makes itself very present. It’s weird because I can drink some of the Four Roses Private Select Single Barrels that are 120+ proof that don’t present themselves nearly as hot as this bottle but that’s the beauty and art of aging whiskey. I agree with Ted in that a little bit of water or an ice cube added to the drink really opens it up and pulls those sweet notes out. The mouth feel with this bourbon is one of my favorites, I like how Blake mentions the viscous/syrupy characteristics.

    I was skeptical as my previous expierences with the brand have been negative. Upon a recommendation from a grinned I bought a bottle and wow they really nailed this one. I went back and stocked up. If you have not tried this one I highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed

    A good question would be about the value of this: price vs. quality. Is it WORTH $60 – aside from the “try for ‘science’ ” reason -?

    This continues to be my favorite bourbon I’ve ever tasted. And really, Old Forester is my favorite distillery. I have yet to regret an OF purchase. I can’t even review Prohibition yet because I get something new every time I try it. I’d be editing my post every week.

    The 1920 has a really unique nose,I would describe as earthy.i am really glad I tried it as I tend to migrate towards allocated limited edition bourbons but this one is readily available and I think it’s a real sleeper.

    Sorry. I still think the hype isn’t worth it. No age statement and obviously caramel color is added to it. Whiskey drinkers have been subject to juice that is diluted down and overpriced so much over the past few years. It’s like we don’t remember what a kick ass bottle OUGHT to be in the $50-$100 range.

    If this is the new normal, I’d better get a larger wallet to afford drams that are worthy of writing about. Nice try Old Forester, but this whiskey drinker is going to hold out for better. Come back with this series when you have an age statement that shows 2-4 more years in the barrel than this 4 year old. Come back when you are willing to put out a whiskey in this series that is barrel proof at 10-15 years and non-chill filtered. I’ll gladly pay $100 for such release!

    Age statements are dropping but maturation times and techniques are being altered, especially here in the US. Most of what you buy in the $50-$100 range is going to be hype anyway.
    Even if this isn’t quite your type of “juice” it is absolutely worth the $55 I see it for – the depth and softness of the high proof is exceedingly good. You are obviously a malt/scotch drinker and a number devotee, but this bottle has obviously picked up enough color character for you to attribute it to E150. I’m happy to say that the color of bourbon is what it is, natural.
    The Old Forester 1920 is fantastic.

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