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What it is

From Brown-Forman:

Louisville, Kentucky (January 15, 2019) – Old Forester, America’s First Bottled BourbonTM, will introduce Old Forester Kentucky Straight Rye Whisky, the distillery’s first new grain recipe in nearly 150 years. Old Forester Rye will be available nationwide beginning February 1.

“Our signature bourbon recipe has done this brand proud through Prohibition, World Wars and changing consumer palates,” said Campbell Brown, Old Forester President and great-great grandson of founder George Garvin Brown. “This January we will create a new tradition with a Kentucky Straight Rye that will capture the hearts and excite the palates of experienced Rye drinkers and curious whisky enthusiasts alike.”

The newest expression from Old Forester was crafted by Master Distiller Chris Morris and Master Taster Jackie Zykan. Old Forester Rye is inspired by the historic recipe for Normandy Rye, a brand which Brown-Forman acquired in 1940. The mash bill consists of 65 percent Rye, 20 percent Malted Barley and 15 percent Corn.

“Throughout history, rye whisky showcased a balanced grain recipe,” said Chris Morris, VP Master Distiller-Whiskey Innovation. “The high proportion of malted barley in this traditional recipe allows for a wholly natural fermentation process, leveraging Old Forester’s proprietary yeast strain. The generous percentage of Malted Barley yields a unique floral character, producing a remarkably balanced Rye.”

Old Forester Kentucky Straight Rye Whisky is presented at 100 proof.

“Old Forester Rye stays true to our standards of quality, consistency, and balance while delivering on value as only Old Forester can,” said Zykan. “The spicy, yet floral complexity of this expression offers a completely different flavor profile than its bourbon cousin. At 100 proof, it plays beautifully in cocktails, but also stands up boldly on its own.”

Old Forester 100 Proof Rye will be offered nationwide at a suggested retail price of $22.99, parity priced with Old Forester 100 Proof Bourbon.

*Brown-Forman provided ModernThirst a sample of Old Forester Rye with no strings attached. The opinions herein are our own.*



Medium brown, Slightly murky.


Black pepper, citrus fruit, vanilla, caramel, and candied peaches.


Brown sugar hits the front of the palate, but it is quickly joined by lots of nice black pepper with candied fruits on the periphery.


Medium in length, the black pepper reasserts itself with a burst of vanilla and caramel intertwined with orange zest and a hint of sweet corn.


100 proof, and only $22.99 SRP, this is a no brainer. It’s one of the better Kentucky Ryes I’ve had in a while, and at that price point, it’s an easy purchase decision. It should work perfectly in cocktails, but on its own, it is equally sippable. Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond finally has an in-state competitor, and it’s a really, really good one. Great product, perfect proof, loaded with complex flavors.

ModernThirst.com score: 90 out of 100.


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Old Forester Rye

90 Excellent

Spicy, sweet, and complex all at once. This is a no-brainer for rye drinkers.

About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder, Editor-in Chief, and official Bourbon-o-Phile for ModernThirst.com, and Founder and Chief Blending Officer for Four Gate Whiskey Company. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country. He attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. He has also been published on Liquor.com. He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in cities across the country, and consulted for multiple national labels. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at Bill@ModernThirst.com.

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