Bourbon dusty hunters search high and low for Old Fitzgeralds and other dusty Stitzel-Weller bourbons, but to my mind, the less coveted, more accessible dusty Old Foresters are a great find as well. Today's dusty is an 86 proof Old Forester in a quart bottle. The bottle bottom indicates "78" and 1978 sounds about right given that there is no metric volume measure and abv is stated in proof only; there is neither a government warning nor a UPC code. I live in a pretty dusty neighborhood and like most of my dusties, this one was found within a quarter mile of my home.
Old Forester 86 proof (43% abv), 4 years old.
Wow, this stuff is great. The nose is a perfect balance of wood and caramel. The palate is decidedly rich and full of caramel and some vanilla with lots of wood, again in perfect balance. The finish is all sweet corn and lingers pleasantly for quite a while. This is the whole package with amazing richness for the low proof. Textbook great bourbon.
This is likely what is known as glut bourbon. Starting in the late 1960s, demand for bourbon (and spirits generally) plummeted. Distilleries stuck with a glut of whiskey in the warehouse dumped older whiskey into their standard brands such that a whiskey like this might say four years old on the label but actually contain whiskey that is much older (remember that the age statement indicates the youngest whiskey in the bottle). These days, that older whiskey would go into some premium or specialty bottling, but back then, they were just trying to get rid of it.
So keep in mind, you may not be able to find an Old Fitzgerald 100 proof in the dust bin (I never have), but don't ignore those old Old Foresters.