Sometimes hubs and I do not like the same bourbons.
Recently we debated the merits of Old Forrester 1897 BIB. When we first opened it, the smell was very fruity and hubs immediately declared it both tasty and, in his words, “bottled banana bread”, which he meant as a good thing. I declared it lighter-fluid-esque, which is what I call any whiskey that is completely lacking in any depth of flavor.
We’ve often noted the changes in flavor throughout the course of a bottle and especially after a bottle has a chance to breathe. I try to withhold judgment on a bourbon until we’re at least midway through a bottle. In the case of Old Forrester 1897, this was a good call. It’s been opened for a couple weeks now, and the flavor has really opened up. It’s on the lower end of the proof spectrum at 100. As such, there’s only a subtle burn that’s a nice change from time to time. I didn’t taste banana, but moreso, a deeper fruitiness and definite vanilla. Other reviews hint at an oak finish, which is somewhat present. Overall, a decent bourbon for $50.
They say that bourbon stays good forever as long as it’s not opened. The aging process stops once it leaves the barrel. However, a bit of a process happens as well when a bottle is opened up to breathe. When we initially open a new bottle, we tend to uncork for a bit before pouring a couple fingers each. From there, a week or two to sitting in our pie safe gives a more settled, fully developed flavor.
Patience is not my strong suit, but it’s good to sometimes just breathe. And in that time, something great happens to bourbon, which is in and of itself something great.