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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Old Forester Rye Review

Welcome to the review of Old Forester Rye. We wrote about this when it was announced and scored a bottle while on vacation in Illinois. We're hitting this review with high expectations as Old Forester Bourbon is one of our favorite moderately priced bourbons for many of us here at

With that said, let's get started with the specifications.

Manufacturer: Brown-Forman

Age: Unknown

Location Produced: 
Old Forester Distilling Company at Louisville in Kentucky

Mash Bill: 65% Rye, 20% Malted Barley, and 15% Corn

Aroma (from manufacturer): Rich brown sugar and magnolia blossom, with hints of soft sassafras and candied lemon.

Taste (from manufacturer)Spice awakens immediately leading with sharp black pepper and cinnamon stick, rounding out with notes of dried dill and baked apple.

Finish (from manufacturer): Allspice and peppercorn introduce a loyal and dry finish which ignites with pine, anise, and bright lemon zest.

Alcohol: 50%

Who is this for?: People looking for a cheaper rye. Subaru Forester owners.

Cost (Ohio): $20.69 + tax for a 750 ml bottle

Let's start the review. 

Taste - Score 20 out of 35

This was very pleasant on the nose. We picked up a sweet aroma with hints of apple. However, things started going downhill once we tasted... Old Forester Rye was sharp and left a medicinal taste that we didn't find enjoyable. The Duchess picked up brown sugar on the taste and liked this more than we did.

In our opinion, this is best for small sips and was unpleasant to try anything more than that.

Smoothness/Finish - Score 13 out of 25

The finish came in on as medium in length, but we couldn't get over how dry it was... almost to the point of dehydration. At one point, Jonny-boy said we may need gushers to wash this down...

Intangibles: Color/Appearance - Score 11 out of 15

In the glass, the Old Forester Rye has a nice caramel color that comes in about average. In the picture, the Boone County is much darker, but the Old Forester came in with a richer color than the Willett.

In terms of the packaging, the old forester labels are high quality stickers and there is raised etching on the bottle saying 'ESTO OLD FORESTER 1870'. For this price point the bottle is solid, I'd prefer a cork, but at the $20 range, that would be a luxury.

Availability - Score 0 out of 5

Since this is a new bourbon, it hasn't found its way into Ohio yet. It is listed as active by the state, but we haven't seen it on any shelves. We anticipate that this will be readily available like Old Forester Bourbon. Once that happens, we'll update the score accordingly. However, as of publishing (5-16-19), it is hard/impossible to find. 

Overall Value - Score 10 out of 20

It is incredibly rare to see a solid rye at the $20 price point. For us, the best value we've seen is Bulliet Rye at around $25+tax. After spending time with the whole bottle, we would prefer to pay the extra $5 to get something that is more suited to our tastes. While we had high expectations, the Old Forester Rye simply didn't deliver. 

Final Score: 54 out of 100 - Not one of our favorites

Note: This review was done by Mark with help from Jonny-boy, Chris N., and The Duchess. The bottle was purchased at Binny's in Chicago, Illinois.

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