Battle of the Bourbons: Old Forester 1910 vs. Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
I’ve been wanting to compare these two double-barreled products – both produced by Brown-Forman – for quite some time. They’re very similar in style and process and I was curious as to which would strike by palate.
We had friends and family over recently and decided to round off our carry-out dinner with a blind tasting of these two, fine bourbons. Read on for our thoughts.
The Pours Revealed
First of all – full disclosure here – I love both of these bourbons. The Old Forester lineup has one of the best, traditional noses out there and the 86-proof and 100-proof are solid bargains. The Whiskey Row lineup, carefully developed by Marianne Barnes, formerly of Brown-Forman and Castle & Key did true craftsmanship with the series. Yes, there are some banana notes here, but in a good and soft way. As for Woodford Reserve, it was one of my first pours, my first tour, and its brands hold a soft spot in my heart and on my palate.
While we knew what the two brands were that we were tasting, conducting the tasting allowed us to focus on what we sensed without reading anything into the label or the bottle. These were each solid in their own right. Because the Old Forester 1910 expression is a double barrel product (check out the story behind the name here), and with identical mash bills, the real difference is in the yeast (which are similar, but not identical), and the barreling and aging. The products are likely stored in different warehouses, different locations, for different durations.
Pour #1: Old Forester 1910 Our two tastings carried identical mash bills – 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. Between the two, my bottle of 1910 had been open for several months (though tightly sealed). While there were some high notes here, slugging it out toe-to-toe Woodford Double Oaked, it withered ever so slightly. This is bottled at 93 proof – slightly higher than the Woodford Reserve lineup at 90.4 proof. We were consistent in our likes and this was our #2 pick.
Pour #2: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked One of old favorites did not disappoint and was this group’s favorite. Sweet, rich, and almost desert-like, this is a well-crafted and balanced bourbon produced by Master Distiller Chris Morris. While some double-barrel products can be “too woody” and tannic, the rich maple syrup, brown-sugar, caramel and vanilla flavors are married perfectly with light spice and delicious notes of a century-old Kentucky rickhouse.
Try this with yourself, your friends and your family for a spirited-experience. Want to know more about hosting a tasting? Check out some tips here.