Old Forester 1924 Bourbon Review [In Depth]

Old Forester 1924 Bourbon

Alex author
Founder, writer
Old Forester 1924 header

Old Forester 1924 Bourbon Details

Distillery: Old Forester

Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA

Alcohol: 50%

Composition:72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley

Aged: 10 years years

Color: 1.5/2.0 on the color scale (auburn, polished mahogany)

Price: $115 (but probably heavily marked up)

From the company website:

The Whiskey Row Series’ 1924 10 – Year – Old is a limited annual release celebrating another milestone in Old Forester’s storied history.

During Prohibition, more than 200 distilleries were forced to close. Old Forester, however, continued operations because the federal government issued us one of six medicinal licenses, P-3. In 1924, Old Forester acquired barrels from closed distillers, with different mash bills, and bottled that liquid as Old Forester. This release commemorates that moment in time.

Old Forester 1924 Bourbon overview

Wait a minute, did Old Forester actually put an age statement on something besides Birthday Bourbon? King of Kentucky kind of counts too I guess. Whoa, that’s something completely new for them to do…and a lot of people noticed it too.
When I heard that this 10 year old Old Forester was coming, I just like everyone else was super curious to try it. And I got lucky, I received a media sample (I wish it had been a full bottle…but beggars can’t be choosers).
Here’s a bit more context about the bottle and some of the Whiskey Row series. Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style, which marks the start of prohibition, is already an established and readily available part of their Whiskey Row.
1924, the new entrant that’s waaaaaaay more limited, marks a time when so many distilleries were forced to close because they could no longer produce or sell whiskey. It’s a real bummer because I think bourbon would be in a very different and better place (probably) if Prohibition never happened. That’s a discussion for another time.
The Bourbon Culture did a whole thing about where these barrels were probably picked, but I honestly have no idea and am going to be wrong if I even try to guess. I have no idea where the rickhouses are or how they differ. All I know is that Old Forester is usually aged in heat cycled warehouses (although not all of them) so they age faster. Aging bourbon for 10 whole years in warehouses meant to accelerate aging could lead to amazing or weird results. I’ll leave it at that.
Anyway, let’s find out what this 10 year old bourbon’s got in this Old Forester 1924 review.
Thank you to Old Forester for providing this sample (give or take 50ml). All opinions are still my own. I really wish I could get a bottle though.
Old forester 1924 front

As an FYI, I bought and use these Glencairn glasses for everything (they’re the best): Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass Set of 6, Set of 4Set of 2, or just one. Full transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

Old Forester 1924 Bourbon smell

Old Forester 1924 has very dense caramel nougat, werther’s hard candy, vanilla cream, dark chocolate, roasted oak, cinnamon, some old oxidized wood with a little varnish, maraschino cherry and apricot, baked red apple, nutmeg, strawberry, and rose. It smells like a decadent caramel and chocolate dessert coated in wood spices with some dusty bourbon vibes.
Did I mention the noticeable dusty bourbon vibes? Overall it smells waaaaaaay better than any dusty Old Forester I’ve ever had…and dare I say Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2023. Dang this smells incredible – mature, rich, expressive, and dusty. I do love dusty bourbon.
On first impressions, Old Forester 1924 is the best smelling Old Forester bourbon that I’ve ever had, absolutely mesmerizing.
After swirling and rest, it continues to be stunning. There’s decadent caramel and vanilla, candied cherries, old oak, dried apricot and red apple peel, fragrant old oak with a hint of varnish to make it feel very old, dusting of cocoa powder, strawberry, licorice, mint, and a hint of banana.
Old Forester 1924 has incredible depth and complexity, one of the better-smelling and pleasant bourbons I’ve ever had, with amazing light and dark range, low-end heft, and an abundance of scents to take in.
This feels like dusty-ish bourbon with that amazing sweetness, nicely elevated fruitiness, and old oakiness. I’m hooked on the scents.
Old Forester 1924 bottles

Old Forester 1924 Bourbon taste and aftertaste

The flavors have rich caramel, maraschino cherry, vanilla cream, fragrant and expressive oak, cinnamon, nutmeg, strawberry, and a little dark chocolate and coffee with lightly drying oaky tannins throughout. There’s really not much in the way of the usual Old Forester banana flavor, which could be mostly aged out after 10 years. Instead, the 10 years of age show more in the flavors with the heavier oak and tannins, but it’s nothing overdone.
Old Forester 1924 tastes amazing and has good range with the dark and bright sweetness and fruitiness, old oakiness, and spice, but it’s nowhere near as good as it smells. While it maintains that dark sweetness and fruitiness, it doesn’t have the same level of expressiveness, fullness, and depth that the scents do.
With hard “chewing”, I get dense caramel and vanilla cream, dried red apple, candied cherry, old oak, cinnamon, nutmeg, licorice, banana, candied pecans, and a little cocoa and coconut meat. It definitely tastes a lot better after “chewing”, bringing out more of the wonderful and savory sweetness and rich fruit.
he finish leaves oak tannins, caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, orange and apple peel, toasted banana chips, and a hint of woody dry grassiness. After “chewing”, it leaves caramel and vanilla, old oak and tannins, cinnamon, dark chocolate, and coconut meat with lingering chocolate, oak, and coconut. It’s a beautifully dark and rich finish.
The 10 years of oak aging bring out some of the old oakiness, but it doesn’t feel so intensely roasty or oaky as say a 10 year old Elijah Craig barrel proof. There’s a lot of oak, but it’s more gentle and subdued, if that’s even the right way to describe it. Regardless, there’s a lot of great dark sweet and fruit character.
At the same time, it doesn’t have the same ridiculous level of depth, expressiveness, and complexity as the scents do, but the flavors are still wonderful. Old Forester 1924 is amazing, but I’m bummed that this doesn’t taste as good as it smells. This would have been jaw dropping if it were.
I’ve unfortunately lost some Glencairn’s while in transit, and that made me very sad. So, I wised up and bought this Glencairn Travel Case that comes also comes with 2 glasses so I don’t need to worry so much about them breaking. I think it’s great, and I think you’ll love it too. Seriously, if you already have glasses, protect them.

Old Forester 1924 Bourbon Rating

Top Shelf
I am absolutely devastated by Old Forester 1924. It’s a really weird way to kick off the conclusion to a “Top Shelf” and nearly “Top Shelf+” bourbon, but it’s because it pains me so much that it isn’t “Top Shelf+”. The scents are a strong “Top Shelf+” and in the upper echelon of amazing smelling bourbons.
The deeply dark, expressive, sweet, fruity, and woody scents somehow recapture some of the feelings I had when I drank dusty Wild Turkey and Blanton’s in Japan. While Old Forester isn’t quite the same, it’s not so far off either. There’s nostalgia for that time of my life…the best year of my life in fact. I smell it and think “wow”, which is a sign that it’s “Top Shelf+”.
While the scents are completely captivating, the flavors don’t quite capture the same magic as say the “Top Shelf+” Hardin’s Creek Frankfort, which is 17 years old and 110 proof or something. I mention that specific bourbon because it has similar dark sweetness, oakiness, and coconutiness, but Frankfort takes it up a notch with more expressiveness, fullness, and pop. It’s not the most appropriate comparison when Frankfort is older, higher ABV, and more expensive, but that’s where my mind goes.
Nonetheless, Old Forester 1924 drinks far better than any other $115 bourbon I can think of, except maybe that Bourbon Steak Ragged Branch Double Oak that’s probably under $100 for a bottle. That was “Top Shelf+” by the way. Unfortunately, markups and secondary flipping are going to ruin / have ruined the bottle already. Because of the age and rarity, it’s doomed to fly off the shelves at anywhere near retail or fester at some absurd markup. It’s unfortunate for me either way, but at least I got to try it.

Not that anyone asked, but I think like this a tad more than the 2023 release of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. I don’t have any more of this 1924 to compare them, so it’s purely from memory. Old Forester 1924 feels more decadent, complex, and complete. It doesn’t have the same level of fragrant and expressive oakiness, but 1924 is far more interesting and fun for me to drink. And with that, I’ve now made it even more unobtainable for myself. Oh well, I’ll just go drink rum or something.

All in all, Old Forester 1924 is a resounding success, although it somehow leaves some critical things to be desired. I smell the magical ceiling and the flavors fall just short. I hope people actually open and drink these, and fight the urge to just flip it for a profit.
Hopefully I can find one for myself to drink, because I want a full bottle…I’m just not going to overpay for it.
Alex author
Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

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