Image from the Old Forester website. I have not found a single bottle of this release nor have I tried it before! When @luckytimmy13 said he had some for me I was incredibly excited. I finally have a day where the thought struck me that I still had this 2 oz jar waiting for me so it's finally time for a review! This will be a one-time tasting, which I typically try not to do, but I wanted the thoughts to have a home. Here goes! Thank you Tim for sharing this pour!
Company on Label: Old Forester
Whiskey Type: Straight Rye Whiskey (though Old Forester decides to leave the 'e' off when they spell whisky)
Mash Bill Percentages: 15% Corn, 65% Rye, 20% Malted Barley
Further identification: Warehouse G, Floor 3; this is all the info that came on the sample bottle from @luckytimmy13
Nose: Immediately I find caramelized sugars and baking spices as I dip my nose to the rim of my Glencairn. The high proof point on this is apparent from the get go as a foolishly deep inhale punishes my nostrils. Soft, tannic stone fruit are sitting there in the glass but I can't seem to pull enough volume to really chew on them. Early on in the glass I'm struggling to pull a lot of aromas. If I try to swirl the glass a bit I drum up too much proof. I'll take an earlier sip than I usually do here.
Coming back I do find much more going on now. There's a dark, dusty black pepper note, hints of peach, and a lovely caramel barrel funk that has settled in now. Charcoal tones seep in near the bottom of the glass. The empty glass smells of a beautifully well crafted rye old fashioned (which this might actually do really well in), soft rubber and oak bark.
Palate: Upon first sipping this... wow! It's so punchy. I find a similar profile to the 2019 Thomas H. Handy but with a bit less of the pervasive clove that the THH release demonstrates almost exclusively. Another sip brings in plum, dark stewed apricots and a cinnamon-spiced cherry preserve. This is quite fruit forward, but it comes off like a blended medley more than any one distinct flavor. The linger is definitely reminiscent of a good smoothie. As I get further along on this pour I start to find that the fruit is turning heavier and quite pungent. Strawberry, black tea and well-worn leather mix well, but fall off quickly. The finish is short with light turmeric earthiness & just a touch of lemon peel. My last sip is underwhelmingly short but I do find the cinnamon and cherry that was going on earlier. This drank much more like a bourbon than a rye for me after the first flashes at the start of the pour.
Well, that's a bit unfortunate! Overall I thought this pour was just kind of 'messy'. There never felt like a cohesive theme throughout and I was left with short bursts of enjoyment rather than a well-orchestrated symphony that good whiskey of this caliber should be. It still gets a few style points; there is certainly nothing bad about it. It's just not my favorite rye and I will be glad to know that maybe this one doesn't need to be hunted to the end of the earth. Maybe another single barrel will do better if I ever luck into trying a different warehouse or floor. Who knows. I love the whiskey community though and want to thank @luckytimmy13 again here for letting me try this one. Cheers!