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Old Forester 1920 vs 1910 vs 1897: Discover the Best!

Discover the differences between Old Forester 1920 vs 1910 vs 1897 in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond

NoseRaisins, leather, cherry, caramel, oak
PalateCaramel, vanilla, cherries, banana, pepper
FinishDark chocolate, oak, caramel
Alcohol content100 proof (50% ABV)
How to drinkNeat, rocks
Similar toOld Forester 100 Proof

Nose is rich, with notes of raisins, leather, cherry and caramel. Just a tad of oak char.

On the palate, the OF 1897 displays a good body as it has a nice creamy texture.

The first sip is sweet, with very little heat. There are hints of banana, caramel, cherries and a dash of black pepper.

The finish is medium to long, lacking in warmth, with hints of chocolate, cherries and caramel.

The Old Forester 1897 is very smooth for a 100 proof bourbon. Sweet and enjoyable with no off-putting or troubling notes.

Drinks nicely neat, as it does not need neither water nor ice.

Is good, indeed, but if I were you I would look into the Old Forester 100 Proof which costs half as much and tastes practically the same.

Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky

NoseCherries, maple syrup, charred oak
PalateCherries, caramel, leather, charred oak
FinishOak char, caramel, vanilla
Alcohol content93 proof (46.5% ABV)
How to drinkNeat, rocks
Similar toWoodford Reserve Double Oaked

Nose is subtle and sweet, rich in cherries, with hints of maple syrup and charred oak.

On the palate, the Old Forester 1910 has a good creamy feel. There is more of that cherry note, along rich hints of caramel, vanilla well balanced against old leather and charred oak.

The finish is long, with charred oak coming strong, with hints of vanilla and caramel. There is a bit of warmth on the finish yet entirely drinkable.

Old Forester 1910 is dessert in a glass, sweet and well balanced against charred oak. RIch in cherry on nose and taste, while burnt oak becomes more present on the finish.

Drinks incredibly well neat, so there is no need to add ice as this pour is sweet and tasty yet smooth.

Old Forester tries to recreate a specific point in time:

In October 1910, a fire caused the bottling line to be shut down for an unknown period of time, while there was a vat of mature whisky waiting to be bottled.

The whisky was stored in new, charred oak containers to rest until the line could be repaired. This double barreling was the first to be documented.

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style

NoseCaramel, banana, spice, ethanol
PalateBrown sugar, vanilla, caramel
FinishMedium, cinnamon, caramel, oak, spice
Alcohol content115 proof (57.5% ABV)
How to drinkNeat, rocks
Similar toStatesman, Wild Turkey Rare Breed

Nose is honeyed, rich in caramel, with a hint of banana, rye spice and just a whiff of alcohol coming behind.

On the palate, 1920 displays a creamy texture. Flavor provides vanilla and caramel, along brown sugar and a rich nutty note. There is a bit of warmth to it as you would expect from the high proof.

The finish has a medium length, somewhat dry and warm, leaving a nice cinnamon aftertaste in the mouth along caramel, oak and a tad of spice.

Old Forester 1920 is a very good sipper, well balanced and flavorful where the proof does not get in the way as it does not drink as a high proof bourbon.

The finish lacks depth but it’s full of the things I associate with a good bourbon: sweet, pleasantly warm, rich in oak and no off-putting notes.

Old Forester is one of the six bourbons allowed to continue operations during Prohibition. During that all whiskies were sold for “medicinal purposes” and had to be bottled at 100 Proof.

The 115 proof release represents a barrel sample that company president Owsley Brown I would have batched at the beginning of Prohibition.

Old Forester 1920 vs 1910 vs 1897: Cheat Sheet (Proof, aging & price comparison)

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPriceProof Age
Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond$561004
Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky$60934 +/-
Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style$641144 +/-

Old Forester 1920 vs 1910 vs 1897: Mash bill

They are all made using the same mash bill comprised of:

  • 72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley.

Old Forester 1920 vs 1910 vs 1897: Which is better?

1910 is the easiest drinker

  • 1910 is dessert on a bottle. This whiskey is sweet, but no overly so, well balanced against charred oak and a rich old leather hint and the right amount of heat making it entirely satisfying.
  • 1920 would be my personal choice but is the warmest. It doesn’t drink like a 114 proof bottle, has a better body as it was bottled at proof (no water dilution) making it more tasty.
  • 1897 is the weakest as it gets lot between 1910 and 1920. Not a bad dram, but lacks character and marginally better than the regular Old Forester 100 which is priced at 50% off!

Learn more about this brand by reading my post: Discover the Best Old Forester Bourbon where I rank every bottle.


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