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Old Forester bourbon releasing Prohibition-era version

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style bourbon will hit the store shelves in September. It’s 115 proof, with a suggested price of about $60.
Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style bourbon will hit the store shelves in September. It’s 115 proof, with a suggested price of about $60.

Old Forester is releasing a new/old Whiskey Row Series Expression: 1920 Prohibition Style, the third in the series from Louisville-based distiller Brown-Forman.

This version celebrates the way bourbon might have tasted if you hadn’t had any legal hooch for 13 years, with a 115-proof barrel sample that could have been batched at the beginning of Prohibition, the company said in a news release.

“If you had a prescription for whiskey during Prohibition, you could likely get your hands on a bottle of Old Forester Bonded Bourbon. If you had friends in the business during Prohibition, you could get your hands on some whiskey straight from the barrel,” said Jackie Zykan, Old Forester master bourbon specialist. “Whiskey Row 1920 is an insider’s sip, an expression of vintage barrel strength, with a perfect palate of warm autumn nuances.”

According to the tasting notes, the aroma has an intense medley of cherry preserves, caramel, dark chocolate, maple syrup and seasoned oak spiciness, with flavors of malt, graham cracker, green peppercorn, coriander and cedar, and a finish of tart apple, smoky toasted marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker.

After the Volstead Act of 1920 passed, only 10 permits were granted nationally to produce medicinal whiskey during Prohibition. Old Forester was allotted one of those permits, making it the only bourbon continually distilled by the same family before, during and after Prohibition, according to the release.

“Old Forester is a bourbon with such prominent history. It allows us to look back at a rich time line that spans across five generations,” said Campbell Brown, Old Forester president and a fifth-generation Brown family member. “In crafting 1920, we were able to spend time thinking about the legacy of Owsley Brown I and what was an incredibly unique era in our country’s history.”

Priced at $60 for a 750 ml bottle, Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style will hit store shelves nationally in September, when Brown-Forman will begin “13 weeks of Prohibition” (one week for each year) with the release of the annual Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, a much-sought annual release.

Or you can get a sip early: Guests at Thursday night’s Old Forester Speakeasy at the Frazier Museum in Louisville will get a sneak tasting. Tickets are available online at Fraziermuseum.org for $19.20.

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