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The History of Bourbon & Old Forester 

 

Whilst Whiskey (or Whisky as the Scots spell it) originally hails from Ireland and Scotland, it found a new home in the discovered lands of the Americas as immigrants bought with them their treasured beverages produced from the distilled fermentations of grain. In their native homes it was often produced using malted barley with the inclusion of wheat, whilst in America they had easy access to corn and rye.

 

When talking about American Whiskey, the first word uttered is usually Bourbon followed closely by ‘Kentucky’, and whilst close to 95% of all Bourbon is in fact produced in the State of Kentucky, the rules allow for its production throughout the United States of America, so long as the follow the below simple rules:

-        Produced in the United States of America, the term Bourbon is protected, and regional boundaries apply similar to that of Champagne!

-        Made using a grain bill recipe that consists of 51% corn or greater, other grains often used in varying degrees depending on the producer are malted barley, rye and wheat.

-        All Bourbon must be aged in new, charred American oak barrels – a rule that harks back to historic lobbying from the forestry industry to protect their workers livelihoods.

-        Whilst there isn’t a firm minimum ageing requirement for Bourbon, it must state the age if less than 4 years old and if the label states it is a “straight” Bourbon it must be a minimum of 2 years old.

 

Bourbon has a rich and storied history, and one brand in particular has experienced most of it firsthand! Old Forester has the august position of being the world’s first bottled bourbon as George Garvin Brown created the first back in 1870 in an effort to produce a product of consistent quality, and safe from tampering with as was often the case in Bourbons sold directly from the casks at that time. A fire in the bottling plant during the year of 1910 saw a batch of Old Forester put back into barrels for additional storage whilst repairs to the bottling facilities took place, leading to a second first for the brand! This time, the world's first double-barreled Bourbon! This isn’t the last time they meddled with the history books, with the securing of a permit to manufacture and sell during the Prohibition years of 1920 – 1933, with Old Forester now the last remaining Bourbon to be continuously sold by the same company before, during & after prohibition.

 

Old Forester’s impacts on the industry continued through the years including:

  •        Becoming the first distillery to convert entire production into Industrial Alcohol in 1941 to support the American war effort.
  •        The first to release a limited-edition Decanter Bottle, celebrating the 1951 holiday season.
  •        With the release of their ‘President’s Choice’ in 1962 we saw the first Single Barrel Bourbon hit the market.
  •        In 2002, with a special release to celebrate their founder George Garvin Brown’s 156th birthday, Old Forester produced the first Vintage Dated Bourbon.

Rarely does one brand have such a large impact on their respective industry, across such a long time period. They revived some of their history in May 2020 following the cancellation of the famed Kentucky Derby, with the 2nd installment of the Kentucky Turtle Derby since 1945! Video here for those that wish to see the action!

 

Come in store or order online to grab yourself a bottle of Old Forester 80 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon and try a true piece of history for yourself!

You can purchase Old Forester for delivery here

Old Forester 80 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon:

Delivering a genuine Bourbon experience, with a rich, full flavoured and smooth character. Ideal for enjoyment sipped neat, on the rocks, or mixed into your favourite cocktails or long drinks.

If you want to really impress your guests, serve up a round of Chocolate Box Old Fashions:

  •        2 Parts Old Forester 80 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  •        ½ Part De Kuyper Creme de Cacao Liqueur
  •        3 drops of Rose Water
  •        2 dashes Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
  •        Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir well before straining a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.