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Old Forester Master Taster Melissa Rift shared her thoughts on Extra Extra Old

Old Forester 117 Extra Extra Old, photo provided by Old Forester
Old Forester 117 Extra Extra Old, photo provided by Old Forester /

Throughout 2022, Old Forester has released several whisky expressions that have impressed loyal customers and have garnered new fans. While there will always be a place for the first bottled bourbon, the special expressions add a vibrancy to the brand’s legacy. With the new Master Taster Melissa Rift joining the ranks, her expert palate will continue to keep the brand moving forward.

To end 2022, Old Forester 117 Series Extra Extra Old was the last expression to be released. The extra aged whisky has a robust flavor that comes the additional time spent in the heavily charred casks. The special expression quickly became a special bottle to enjoy before the year ended.

As part of the Old Forester Extra Extra Old release, FoodSided spoke to Melissa Rift about this particular release. Although she is early in her tenure, Rift had some poignant thoughts on the special expression and what is reveals about the iconic whisky brand.

Specifically, Rift shared, “Since my journey as Old Forester Master Taster just began recently, I was not involved in the crafting of this release, however, I am thrilled to be a part of the excitement! An Extra Extra Old expression of the 1910 Old Fine Whisky not only aligns with the flavors of this holiday season perfectly but offers a continuation of unique flavor that Old Forester fans have come to love. I am grateful to be involved and look forward to working on future expressions!”

While Rift will have a bigger influence on future offerings, the nuance that this most recent Old Forester offering reveals is worth sipping again and again. Although there is a nod to the tradition that people expect from the Brown Foreman spirit, it is more than just a step back into time.

Rift explains, “The 117 Extra Extra Old expression originated as the Whiskey Row 1910 Old Fine Whisky double-barreled bourbon expression. The 1910 double barreling features amplified fruits and sugars drawn from the barrel aging process that I often prefer across the category, so the Extra Extra Old is a special first release, as I often gravitate toward bold fruit-forward flavors and rich confectionary profiles.”

While Rift revealed that she might lean towards bold fruit-forward flavors, that notion may influence the 2023 offerings from Old Forester. Only time will tell how Rift will impact the next round of whiskies on the shelf.