Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
There was a time when Old Forester Distillery had a core line up of bourbons, and that was it. The yearly Birthday Bourbon came around, but that was mostly the extent of their special releases, for the most part. How things have changed. The Whiskey Row Series, 150th anniversary releases, the rye, barrel strength single barrel releases etc. have added a lot of diversity and interest to a brand that was once set in stone.
How things have changed! Old Forester 117 Series Warehouse H is the among the latest (6th) releases from the 117 series, which debuted in spring of 2021. This makes the full list of releases up to this one to be:
#1 – 117 Series High Angel’s Share (Spring 2021)
#2 – 117 Series Warehouse K (August 2021)
#3 – 117 Series 1910 “Extra Old (February 2022)
#4 – 117 Series Whiskey Row Fire (July 2022)
#5 – 117 Series Extra Extra Old (December 2022)
#6 – 117 Series Warehouse H (February 2023)
This release is meant to highlight Warehouse H, as the name implies. Warehouse H is brick warehouse constructed starting in 1946 (Old Forester calls Warehouse H “symbolic of Old Forester’s growth after WWII) and houses about 50,000 barrels. It is a 4 story, 8 chamber warehouse and designed to be heat cycled in winter months to accelerate maturation during those normally less active months.
Due to the heat cycling, sometimes the 1st floor can be the highest temperature. This year around maturation, combined with extreme temperature changes for each floor throughout the year, can create some very unique flavors.
Another interesting tidbit about this release is that, it was released with a tie in to the “Sleepeasy” – a one bedroom rental property next to the Old Forester Distillery that could be rented for an immersive experience and a chance to purchase some of the most rare Old Forester editions, meet and greet/tastings with Master Taster Melissa Rift, and proceeds that went directly to a charity, Louisville’s Center for Women and Families.
Tasting Notes: Old Forester 117 Series Warehouse H
Vital Stats: 98 Proof; NAS; $60 for a 375 ml; mash bill: 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley
Appearance: Light honey
Nose: Bright, Petit-Beurre sweetness, faint cedar
Palate: Toasted Oak, tart cherry, quite peppery
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