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Old Forester Releases New 117 Series: Rum Finish Bourbon

Old Forester Releases New 117 Series: Rum Finish Bourbon

Old Forester Releases New 117 Series: Rum Finish Bourbon

Old Forester is known for keeping keeping it simple with its affordable bourbons and rye whiskeys, but also entering 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 brings a new method of maturation into the mix for each release. The latest is called Rum Finish, and it’s a first for this particular whiskey lineup.

The 117 Series started in 2021, and it has given whiskey fans some pretty solid releases since it launched including High Angels’ Share (drawn from barrels that had high evaporation rates), Whiskey Row Fire (barrels chosen by the Louisville Fire Department to mark the fire that devastated the city’s Whiskey Row almost a decade ago), Warehouse H (consisting of barrels from one particular warehouse), and 1910 Extra Extra Old (finished in heavily charred barrels for an additional two years). The new Rum Finish, according to the distillery, is meant to be a tribute to the time when the Ohio River which flows behind the Whiskey Row distillery location was used to transport barrels of spirits like rum.

Bourbon finished in rum barrels can be really delicious, as evidenced by some other examples of this specific type of secondary maturation. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Voyage was a truly fantastic bourbon finished in Appleton Estate rum barrels, and there have been many others 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.

The rum in question for this new whiskey was aged for a minimum of four years in these barrels, and the bourbon was put into them for a half-year secondary maturation. Old Forester does not reveal exactly which distillery the rum came from, and there far too many to make it really worth speculating. But Brown-Forman, the parent company of Old Forester that also owns Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve, acquired Venezuelan rum brand Diplomatico about a year ago, so that is a possible source. We did not get to try a sample of this whiskey for ourselves, but Old Forester assistant master distiller Caleb Trigo provided some tasting notes. “By finishing our signature bourbon for approximately six months in these rum barrels, we have complimented and accentuated the sweet aromatics of Old Forester with hints of brown sugar and molasses, emboldening its rich character,” he said. “Rum Finish provides a sweet addition to the series that whiskey aficionados—and rum drinkers—will love.”

Old Forester 117 Series: Rum Finish is available only at the distillery or for purchase from the Old Forester website (SRP $60 for a 375-ml bottle). You can find previous 117 Series releases available from websites like Cask Cartel (at extremely inflated prices as these tend to be collector’s items), and the entire Old Forester lineup is available to purchase now from ReserveBar.

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