Old Forester Rye Whiskey

I was talking with a colleague the other day about the current state of the spirits industry. The conversation was largely about whiskey, allocated bourbon and such. But then turned to a conversation about the next big thing.

It got me thinking, as I was preparing my notes for today’s blog. What is the next big thing? And what does that mean for the industry?

I don’t think the “bourbon boom” is ever going to to die down. I think mainstream drinkers have discovered what we bourbon drinkers have known all along. The style of whiskey is really good, tells a great story about the early years of our great country and the people who blazed the trail in some case, literally from nothing. The problem with bourbon is the demand is still outpacing supply. This makes for some sub-standard products on our shelves (a lot of them, truth be told) and fairly high prices. Enter Rye Whiskey…

Rye whiskey, on the other hand, has not reached its nexus for demand as of yet. Largely because there are so many styles of rye out there, that it is really hard to nail down what the direction is for this spirit. I have had some really good rye whiskies, but I have also had some really bad rye whiskies, that others seem to love.

We talked about tequila. The problem with tequila, and becoming the next big thing, is that it is cost prohibitive. Good, and sometimes even mediocre tequila, is really expensive. It’s going to be hard to get a foothold into the “next big thing” conversation, until the tequila producers can find a better way to get the solid products to market, without breaking the bank.

We talked about vodka. That component to the conversation was short. Get rid of the flavors and educate people to the value in creating their own flavors through creative cocktail making.

We talked about gin. Gin is on the rise with all kinds of unique flavor profiles, devleoped from various combinations of botanicals. But I don’t think it will ever reach the level that bourbon has.

So what is the “next big thing”? In 30 years of doing this, I can honestly say, I have no idea. 

Now, back to rye. I remember, not really all that long ago, we had two rye whiskies on our shelves. And they collected a lot of dust. Old Overholt was one, the other was Rittenhouse. They both still have a place on our shelves, but are now joined by about 50 other options. One of those options is Old Forester.

Old Forester Rye came into the market about four years ago. Our rep at the time brought a sample bottle in and had me try it without knowing what it was. I was blown away by the complex nature of this whiskey and immediately brought it in. I bought as much as I could get me hands on at the time, as I was certain this was going to be a winner at $23ish/bottle. I was right. But then it disappeared from the shelves in 2020 due to the high demand of the product.

Well, it’s back! We are happy to say that Old Forester Rye has made it back to the market, and it is still one of the best rye whiskies out there, across all price points. It’s why it is on the 2023 Spirited Holiday Countdown Calendar. I think you will agree.

  • Name: Old Forester Rye Whiskey
  • Country of Origin/Locale: Louisville, KY
  • Proof: 100.00
  • Glass: Glencairn or DOuble Old Fasioned Glass
  • Temperature: Room or Chilled
  • Cocktail Options: Makes a stellar Manhattan Cocktail or Sazerac
  • Available: Yes. Retail and in JJ’s Bar
  • Price: List Price – $29.95 JJ’s VIP Price – $23.95

Tom’s Tasting Notes: You will find a lot of what we love about bourbon in this rye whiskey. Big, bold aromas of vanilla, fig and cinnamon. The flavors are full with a viscosity that coats your mouth from tip of the tongue to the back of the throat. The finish is long and spicy with a nice 100 proof punch to the chest. Enjoy!