Old Forester Bourbon
- Containing more rye than most bourbons
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- Kentucky Straight
- American Whiskey
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- The era of bottled bourbon began with a signature. And that is why our new bottle design features a signature on the label as did the original 1870 bottle. The signature is that of Louisville native George Garvin Brown, a pharmaceutical salesman who recognized the need for a bourbon of consistent high quality. The custom in his day was to ship whisky in barrels and pour it into decanters on the bar. Once it left the barrel, each establishment had the option of diluting the whisky as it wished. To ensure the quality of his bourbon, George Garvin Brown was the first to put it in sealed glass bottles. That way, no one could water down Old Forester or otherwise compromise it. Quite an innovation in 1870! Then George guaranteed its quality with his personal written guarantee and his handwritten signature, which he boldly displayed on the Old Forester label. As America's First Bottled Bourbon, Old Forester owns a unique history within the bourbon category. Since its introduction in 1870, it has been on the market continuously, even during Prohibition, when it continued to be sold for medicinal purposes. It is the only bourbon continuously distilled and marketed by the founding family before, during and after Prohibition. Which just goes to show - every masterpiece needs a signature. Our founder took his bourbon personally. So should you.
Since 1870, Old Forester has been painstakingly crafted with the bourbon lover in mind. Want to know more about America's first bottled bourbon? Master Distiller Chris Morris will share some of his insights into the making of this remarkable bourbon. While you're here, you can also learn more about Old Forester's proud and rich heritage.
As America's first bottled bourbon, Old Forester enjoys a heritage as rich as its taste. Find out how Old Forester became the original bottled bourbon.
In the 1800s, bourbon/whisky was sold in bulk to rectifiers, wholesalers, brokers and retailers. Barrels were branded with a distillery or 'brand' name. Package stores/druggists bottled their own labels from bulk supplies. Unscrupulous rectifiers, jobbers and retailers would often tamper with the quality and integrity of the whisky in a barrel.
In 1870, George Garvin Brown, a young pharmaceuticals salesman in Louisville, Kentucky, saw the need for a consistently high-quality whisky that met medicinal standards. With $5,500 in saved and borrowed money, Brown and his half brother started J.T.S. Brown and Bro. They sold Old Forester Bourbon Whisky exclusively in sealed glass bottles to assure its quality. George Garvin Brown ensured the quality of his product with his handwritten guarantee on every bottle.
What's in a Name?
Unfortunately, the inspiration and origin of the Old Forester brand name died with George Garvin Brown. However, it is believed that George Garvin Brown's brand was named after one of Louisville's leading physicians, Dr. William Forester (and presumably one of his best customers). You will notice in vintage bottles that originally Old Forester was spelled with two 'r's.' When Dr. Forester retired, his endorsement would no longer have been valid. Subsequently, Old Forester, today, is spelled with only one 'r.'
Old Forester is made with an exacting grain recipe of corn, rye and malted barley. With approximately half-again more rye than most bourbons, Old Forester imparts a fuller, richer, more genuine bourbon character. Just the way George Garvin Brown wanted it.
Old Forester is twice-distilled using a 'thumper' for a cleaner, crisper spirit as it comes into contact with the barrel. And we distill only 500 barrels at a time. That's right - we were small-batch before small batch was cool.
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