Unsurprisingly, Old Forester Single Barrel Barrel Strength Bourbon has caramel and vanilla, but there’s also a lot of earthy notes (rosemary, thyme, and caraway seed), citrus, roasted grains, oak, and cinnamon. It’s not so banana-forward at first, with the rye coming out equally as strong and the flavors being more oaky than the scents are. There’s still a solid sweetness, but this is also a spicy bourbon with a lot of charred oak and lightly burnt cinnamon, and a big alcohol kick for added measure.
“Chewing” brings big caramel, banana, vanilla, baked apple, citrus peel, rosemary, thyme, charred oak, caraway seed, cinnamon, roasted grains, and faint hints of licorice and black tea. Caramelized banana has returned to the forefront, bringing with it earthy, vegetal, oaky, spicy, and grainy notes. The banana helps create a viscous and oily mouthfeel, but the alcohol is still pretty hot. I can tell this is fairly young because it still has this bready sweetness and youthful graininess as I let it sit in my mouth. As much as I like the bold and heavy flavors offered in this Old Forester Single Barrel Barrel Strength Bourbon, it all comes in one big shot and doesn’t really change or get better over time, lacking much nuance and complexity.
The finish leaves oily and dry oak, rosemary, caramel, and grilled bananas that fades into a long-lasting dry sweetness. “Chewing” leaves a mix of oily oak, tannins, caramel, banana, and thyme. I can feel the oils coat my mouth and slowly turn into that lingering lightly sweet and vegetal sensation from eating a slightly unripe banana.