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old forester 86 vs 100

At one time, Old Forester was considered fine bourbon, releasing special decanters each year for the Christmas holiday. And most importantly of all, it's in a position to make a name for itself, by providing its competition with quality counterpoint.

It was the harshest 100 proof bourbon I've tried although I haven't had very many 100+ bourbons. It is the lowest proof offering in the Old Forester family of expressions.

Old Forester began with humble roots in 1870, when George Garvin Brown took $5,500 and, with his half-brother, started J.T.S. With a new brand-wide bottle label refresh in tow, Old Forester has changed and that is most apparent with Old Forester Signature 100 Proof.

Old Forester Bourbon has this oaky, roasty, and sweet caramel, vanilla, and gently smoked grain up front, followed by dried citrus peel, apple, candied fruits, cinnamon, and hints of licorice afterwards.

There’s not much more to say than that, so let’s find out how this bourbon performs in this Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon review. Old Forester is the longest running bourbon brand on the market and was the first bourbon sold exclusively in sealed bottles.

The smoked grain and oak kind of remind me of young MGP bourbon, although MGP has more rye in the mash that brings out more licorice, anise, and dill. The finish, while light, is actually kind of nice and certainly a good ending for Old Forester. Much smoother than its sibling. It tastes toned down from years past where it was overpowering. If you like to drink whiskey neat or with a splash of water, I strongly recommend the Old Forester. Ditto, with even more pronounced vanilla notes. A nice, solid, full-bodied bourbon with a very well balanced oak and maple flavor. They started showcasing Marianne Barnes as master distiller Chris Morris’ protégée and let her loose on the first release in a new whiskey brand for the company, Whiskey Row. Old Forester 86 and 100 proof bourbons have struggled with this for many years.

Putting things in perspective, though, its premier-bourbon-big-brother – Woodford Reserve – reported revenues up 24% and sales approaching 1 million cases annually.

With a refreshed branding and investment in the line-up, Brown-Forman continues to report sales growth in its American whiskey brands.

This has a GREAT nose.

Wow. I like the 86 quite a bit as a everyday bourbon that you don't need to feel bad about using up too quickly. Its main flaw is that it still suffers from a below average finish despite being much improved over years past.

And in fairness it was the least expensive 100 proof I've bought too.

It is one of my go-to bourbons and it is nearly always in my bourbon cabinet. Unfortunately what was most memorable about them was their dreadful finish.

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Overall, Old Forester 86 Proof is gentle but not completely lacking in character; or to put it in other words, it’s ok, not bad.

It’s a little like McDonalds or a Hampton Inn.

After years of struggling in the $20-$30 price range, Old Forester finally has a much-improved bourbon that can proudly stand up to its competition. As a much improved product, Old Forester Signature 100 Proof goes a long way correcting its past wrongs, and can finally stand toe-to-toe with its competition.

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