Bourbon Review

Bourbon Review: Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond

Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond is crafted to honor a watershed moment in bourbon history – the U.S. Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. According to the bottle, “Originally produced on Louisville’s Whiskey Row, this whiskey embraces the definition of the act introduced in 1897 which inspired higher quality standards.

What is Bottled in Bond?

Bottled in bond is a label for American-made distilled beverages that have been aged and bottled in accordance with regulation laid out in the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. In order to be labeled as bottled-in-bond the product must be made of one distillation season (January–June or July–December) by one distiller at one distillery. It must have been aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least four years and bottled at 100 (U.S.) proof (50% alcohol by volume). The bottled product’s label must identify the distillery where it was distilled and, if different, where it was bottled.

Why was Bottled in Bond Act Created?

At the time of its passage many bottlers used iodine or tobacco to create color and flavor. Consumers wanted reassurances as to what they were consuming, so a standard of quality was created. It was also attached to taxes which allowed distillers to put off paying the excise tax until the bourbon had been fully aged.

Bourbon Review: Old Forester 1897 Bottle in Bond
% (100 Proof)
Age: At least 4 Years
Mash Bill: 
72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Old Forester Distilling Co. 
Louisville, KY (USA)

The Nose: The initial aroma is a bit musty before giving way to hints of oak and a floral component. After letting the glass sit for about 10 minutes, caramel develops on the nose.

The Taste: The Old Forester 1897 is balanced with a nice amount of depth. The initial sip reveals plums and oak with additional stone fruits on the finish. A secondary sip sees vanilla and a heartier oak develop with some subtle coffee beans.

Cigar Pairing: The cigar today is Aganorsa Leaf Rare Leaf Reserve Maduro which was released in 2023. On its own the cigar has notes of earth, cocoa, cedar and coffee. The pairing brings out more notes of vanilla and oak with added heat on the finish of the bourbon. The added heat detracts from the sweetness. If the pairing affected the final score it would have been a minus 4. In the future we will try a Connecticut Shade with this bourbon.

Conclusion: Old Forester has two 100 proof bourbons which is confusing to some. The 1897 Bottled in Bond stands out considerably from the other bottle. It’s part of the Whiskey Row Series which consists of the 1870, 1897, 1910 and 1920 lines. It is extremely well balanced with a wonderful complexity. It is among my favorite bottled in bond bourbon right up there with E.H, Taylor. This one is something to keep for yourself and not share with friends.

Score: 96
Price: $49.99 (750ml)

Previous Post Next Post