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Preview: Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2013 Release

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I usually celebrate my birthday with a group of close friends and family, sharing a few drinks and reflecting on the fun we've had together and the good times yet to come. What could be better? Well, if you're the wine and spirits heavyweight Brown-Forman, the answer is sharing those emotions with an extended group of friends through an annual limited offering of world-class bourbon: the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.

Released to celebrate Brown-Forman's founder Mr. George Brown's September 2nd birthday, the occasion has become a high point in the year for bourbon aficionados the world over. With summer drawing to a close, the 2013 release is about to hit store shelves, and we managed to snag a preview.

This is the 12th yearly release in the series. The 2013 bottling is a 12 year old bourbon from barrels filled on a single day of production, and it's a remarkable effort. It's sweet, spicy, and complex, while at the same time dangerously drinkable. Deep aromas of vanilla and well-seasoned oak jump out of the glass, supported by dark berries and chocolate. The flavor is incredibly well balanced, delivered with a wonderfully thick texture. Cinnamon and clove notes add complexity to the sweet vanilla base, with hints of walnuts and pistachios and even a bit of coconut rounding out the ensemble. Finishing long, rich, and warming, we can't quite get to the bottom of the glass because it somehow keeps getting refilled...

Bottled at 97 proof and listing for $55 a bottle, and just now hitting shelves nationwide, the only question is if you can manage to find a bottle before they sell out. I know I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for this whiskey for a special occasion.

About the author: Andrew Strenio is a lover of all things potable. Since sneaking his grandmother's bourbon balls, he's moved on to touring distilleries and sipping snifters. He works by day making documentary television and films for an independent production company in Brooklyn.

Sample provided for review consideration.

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