close
close

Old Forester Launches New 117 Series: Rum-Finished Bourbon

Old Forester Launches New 117 Series: Rum-Finished Bourbon

Old Forester is known for keeping it simple with its affordable bourbons and rye whiskeys, but it also enters the pantheon of unicorn whiskeys with its annual Birthday Bourbon release. The Kentucky distillery also has a few other collections in its portfolio, including the limited-edition 117 Series, which introduces a new maturation method to the blend with each release. The latest is called Rum Finish, a first for this particular line of whiskeys.

The 117 Series kicked off in 2021, and since its launch, it’s offered whiskey fans a selection of pretty solid releases like High Angels’ Share (drawn from barrels with high evaporation rates), Whiskey Row Fire (barrels chosen by the Louisville Fire Department to commemorate the fire that devastated the city’s Whiskey Row nearly a decade ago), Warehouse H (comprised of barrels from a specific warehouse), and 1910 Extra Extra Old (finished in heavily charred barrels for an extra two years). According to the distillery, the new Rum Finish is a tribute to a time when the Ohio River, which flows behind the Whiskey Row distillery location, was used to transport barrels of spirits like rum.

As some other examples of this particular type of secondary maturation have proven, bourbon finished in rum barrels can be truly delicious. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Voyage was a truly wonderful bourbon finished in Appleton Estate rum barrels, and many others have emerged over the years, including Jefferson’s Old Rum Cask Finish, Kentucky Peerless Rum Barrel Finished Bourbon, Angel’s Envy Rye, Barrell Tale of Two Islands, and Redemption Rum Cask Finish.

For this new whiskey, the rum in question was matured in these barrels for at least four years, and the bourbon was put into barrels for half a year of secondary maturation. Old Forester doesn’t disclose exactly which distillery the rum comes from, and there are honestly too many to speculate. However, Old Forester’s parent company, Brown-Forman, which also owns Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve, acquired Venezuelan rum brand Diplomatico about a year ago, so it’s a likely source. We didn’t get to sample this whiskey ourselves, but Old Forester associate head distiller Caleb Trigo provided some tasting notes. “By finishing our signature bourbon in these rum barrels for about six months, we complement and accentuate the sweet flavors of Old Forester with hints of brown sugar and molasses, enhancing its rich character,” he said. “The Rum Finish is a sweet addition to the lineup that whiskey enthusiasts and rum drinkers will love.”

Old Forester 117 Series: Rum Finish is only available for purchase at the distillery or from Old Forester Web site (SRP $60 for 375ml bottle). Previous 117 Series releases are available at: The Barrel Cartel (at wildly inflated prices as these tend to be collectibles) and the entire Old Forester range is currently available for purchase at: ReserveBar.