I recently reviewed Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and really enjoyed it. As I explained in that review, double oaked whiskeys have been hit and miss for me. After liking Woodford’s expression, I figured I’d try Old Forester 1910, OF’s double oaked expression. Today we’re going to find out which is better: Old Forester 1910 or Woodford Reserve Double Oaked.
We’re going to cover some of the basic history behind double oaked whiskey and Old Forester before jumping into the details about Old Forester 1910 and the tasting notes. Of course, we’re going to compare those notes and the price point with Woodford’s Double Oaked.
Old Forester 1910 History – The Beginning of Double Oaked Whiskey
Back in 1910, a fire broke out on whiskey row which led to the production line of Old Forester being put to a halt. They also had a large stock of whiskey sitting around waiting for it to come of age. However, many of the barrels containing whiskey were destroyed. Old Forester transferred their whiskey to new virgin charred oak casks to continue the aging process.
When it came time to bottle up the whiskey, Old Forester realized they had a completely new whiskey. It’s said that this was the beginning of double oaked whiskey.
If you’re looking for a complete breakdown of the History of Old Forester, check out our review on their standard expression, Old Forester 86.
What Is Double Oaked Bourbon?
Double Oaked bourbon means that the whiskey is aged in two new charred oak casks.
If you were to distill whiskey with a bourbon mash (51%+ corn) and age the whiskey in ANYTHING other than new charred oak, it would be considered an American whiskey, not bourbon.
Take the same whiskey, age it in new charred American oak and finish it in a second barrel that is not new charred oak – previously used cask, for example – and you have an American whiskey. It’ll likely be labeled as “bourbon finished in x cask”.
Bourbon can ONLY be aged in new charred oak casks. A second round of aging in a new virgin oak cask will create a double oaked bourbon.
Old Forester 1910 Overview
- Spirit: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
- Owned By: Brown-Forman
- Distilled By: Old Forester Distilling
- Aged: NAS – double barreled in new charred American oak.
- ABV: 46.5% ABV, 93 proof
- Mashbill: 72% corn, 18% rye, 10% malted barley
- Price: $55-$60
We don’t know exactly how long Old Forester 1910 is aged. It is a No Age Statement (NAS) Bourbon, meaning that the first barreling last for a minimum of 4 years. The second round of aging likely lasts for close to a year, but the exact time is unknown. What we do know is that the whiskey is proofed down to 100 proof before entering the second oak barrels.
There’s one stark contrast between Old Forester 1910 and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked – the second barrel. Woodford uses a heavily toasted, lightly charred cask for their second barrel. Old Forester 1910 is double barreled using a heavily charred, lightly toasted cask.
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and Old Forester 1910 are produced by Brown-Forman, they use the same mashbill, and are proofed very similarly (93 proof vs 90.4 proof).
Old Forester 1910 Price
Old Forester 1910 will run you about $60 for a 750 ml bottle. Price is very dependent upon location and individual store, so the price you see may vary. Total Wine lists Old Forester 1910 anywhere from $52-$60 across the US, but your local mom & pop shop will likely have it closer to the $60 mark.
Old Forester 1910 Tasting Notes
Alright, we’ve covered the basics, let’s jump into the important details. What does Old Forester 1910 taste like? Is it good? Is it worth buying? Let’s find out.
Nose: Wood dominant with caramel, dark fruits, and orange. Some peanuts, maple, and dark herbal tea. Some baking spice throughout.
Palate: oak, caramel, and cherries give way to some cinnamon and roasted nuts. A touch of orange marmalade and maple sneaks in before oak makes a strong comeback.
Finish: Oak and orange overlap to the finish from the back end of the palate. The caramel is more toffee-esque here. Orange jam, maybe even some licorice, sit around with pepper and oak for a fairly long finish.
Taste Summary: Old Forester 1910 flirts with my border of too much oak, but there’s just enough there to keep things interesting. There are some strong notes of cherry and darker fruits, but they only last for a second before oak overtakes them.
nuts/nougat and some maple go through the same process as the darker fruits, but just towards the middle/end of the palate. Some strong flavors pop up, but only for a moment before oak comes back. The only flavor that I was consistently around with the oak was an orange peel and orange marmalade.
Old Forester 1910 vs Woodford Reserve Double Oaked – Which is Better?
Old Forester 1910 and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked are the two best selling double oaked bourbons on the market. They have so many similarities, but are still quite different when it comes to the drinking experience. This leaves many of us wondering, which is better? Old Forester 1910 or Woodford Double Oaked?
The answer to this is wholly subjective. There’s a reason these are the two best selling – they’re both good. However, I have a clear favorite. Woodford Double Oaked is much more candied and sweet, with some more complexity and uniqueness. Old Forester 1910 is oak and wood dominant. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s too much oak, it’s just more dominant than I would prefer.
I do think Old Forester 1910 has a slightly better mouthfeel but only marginally. The orange in 1910 also makes for a great Old Fashioned.
Which sounds better to you, though? More candied fruits or more oak and wood?
Old Forester Whiskey Row Series
Old Forester 1910 is part of Old Forester’s Whiskey Row series – a collection of 4 whiskeys meant to highlight different points of Old Forester’s history.
The four whiskeys in the series are as follows:
- Old Forester 1870 Original Batch – A small batch whiskey that uses barrels from 3 different warehouses. Meant to replicate the process George Garvin Brown used back in 1870.
- Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond – The Bottled in Bond act of 1897… Self explanatory here.
- Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky – Double Oaked
- Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style – Barrel proof bourbon, the way Old Forester was produced during prohibition – for medicinal purposes only, of course.
I’m not a huge fan of Old Forester 86 Proof, but I’m 2-for-2 on enjoying whiskeys in their Whiskey Row series.
Old Forester 1910 Summary
Old Forester 1910 is a good sipping whiskey that can make you a very nice high-end cocktail. A $60 price tag is fair for a bottle, but still a good chunk of change. If you’re looking at buying a bottle, you better like oak and wood flavors. It’s not too aggressive on the oak and wood, but they are the dominant flavors.
Old Forester 1910 is credited with the first ever double oaked bourbon expression – back in 1910 of course – due to a fire that caused them to move whiskey from damaged barrels to new ones. While being the first to do something doesn’t always translate to being the best at it, Old Forester makes a case with their 1910 expression.