Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is one of those great, annual, limited-edition bottlings that are so popular with hard-core bourbon enthusiasts.
The birthday is that of Old Forester and Brown-Forman founder George Garvin Brown, who was born on September 2. That's usually when the new edition is released. This year, Brown-Forman released their Old Forester Repeal Bourbon on Brown's birthday and said Birthday Bourbon would be out a little later.
It's now a lot later, we're running out of 2008, and still no 2008 release.
I did some digging and here's what's up.
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon comes in a special bottle and that supplier went out of business. Brown-Forman found a new bottle and it is similar but not the same, so when they put it on the bottling line it had some problems. Those problems finally have been resolved and the product is now being bottled. Obviously, that means they will miss the holiday season completely.
Jim Beam also had some "glass problems" recently with their new rye whiskey. It happens.
Being that this is an enthusiast product, people will want to know if this means the whiskey is going to be different. The answer is no. The particular batch of Old Forester selected for the 2008 release was actually chosen about a year ago (I helped). When they couldn't bottle it at the intended time, they dumped the barrels anyway and tanked the whiskey in stainless steel, so it will be the whiskey it was supposed to be.
Look for it after the new year.