Skip to Content

Buffalo Trace vs Old Forester 86: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Buffalo Trace vs Old Forester 86 in this head to head comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Buffalo Trace

buffalo-trace
NoseCaramel, cinnamon, baking spice, cereal
PalateCaramel, vanilla, oak, espresso coffee, chocolate
FinishVanilla, baking spice, oak
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat, rocks
Similar toUncle Nearest, Knob Creek, Blade & Bow

Buffalo Trace is one of the best-selling liquors for two good reasons: it delivers a smooth yet tasty taste and is attractively priced delivering good value for the money.

On the nose the Buffalo Trace is very subtle with notes of caramel, vanilla and a touch of baking spice. 

Taste hits the spice a little harder, displays oak and fruit and the underlying sweetness is still there, a little caramel and vanilla goes a long way. Mouthfeel is soft and approachable, light on the heat.

The finish has a decent length, rich in vanilla and baking spice, although flavors don’t sit on the tongue for long but leave a refreshing sensation in the mouth.

The Buffalo Trace is a well-rounded bourbon, making a nice easy sipper with a medium to full body, soft with a chewy feel, fruity and oaky with a medium spicy finish.

Neither intense nor mind-blowing, but it gets the job done delivering a pleasant and satisfying bourbon.

Overall, Buffalo Trace is a good mid-shelf bourbon, a sipper that does not need neither water nor ice. Makes a solid option for an “everyday whiskey” but not the best mixer as it lacks the punch to deliver tasty cocktails.

Use the Sazerac Rye as a whiskey for cocktails which is pretty much the same bourbon but with added rye spice.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Buffalo Trace:

  • Buffalo Trace is made from corn, rye and malted barley in undisclosed amounts.
  • Buffalo Traces uses a unique aging process of 8 years in which the barrels are stored in the middle floors of the warehouse where temperature fluctuations are the greatest; these variations get reflected in the bourbon creating deeper flavors.
  • 40 barrels at a time are chosen to create one single, small batch of Buffalo Trace.

Old Forester 86

old-forester-86
NoseBrown sugar, caramel, ethanol
PalateVanilla, banana, oak, spice
FinishCaramel, oak
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toOld Forester 100, Old Forester 1897

The nose kicks-off with a sharp ethanol hit that quickly dissipates into a sweet scent of brown sugar and caramel.

On the palate, the Old Forester 86 has a decent body showing a medium texture. Flavor is smooth and a bit musty, with hints of vanilla, banana, cinnamon and a dash of charred oak spice providing a bitter note.

The finish is short-lived, with caramel and oak to it with very little to no warmth.

It drinks nicely neat or rocks and the little higher than average proof (86) makes it a good option for an affordable Old Fashioned.

Old Forester 86 has nothing remarkable or off-putting, getting the job done providing good value for the money.

The Old Forester 86 is a solid entry-level bourbon and a better option than most bourbons at this price range such as the Jack Daniel’s or Jim Beam.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Old Forester 86:

  • Does not have an age statement, but is around 4 years.
  • The mash bill is comprised of 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malted barley.
  • This was the first bottled bourbon sold in sealed glass bottles instead of from barrels, to ensure consistent quality.
  • Old Forester has been on the market continuously since 1870, which is longer than any other bourbon.
  • Old Forester was launched in 1870 by George Garvin Brown and named for Dr. William Forrester, who prescribed bourbon to his patients.

Buffalo Trace vs Old Forester 86: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPrice
Buffalo Trace$35
Old Forester 86$24

Buffalo Trace vs Old Forester 86: Which is better?

Buffalo Trace is a more complex and tasty bourbon

WhiskeyBuffalo TraceOld Forester 86
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • The Buffalo Trace and the Old Forester 86 play in different leagues.
  • Old Forester 86 is better than most low-shelf bourbons such as the Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam while the Buffalo Trace has a place among the mid-shelf bourbons.
  • Buffalo Trace is a tasty, complex, satisfying and yet smooth bourbon and one of the best at that price level.

Jack Daniel's No. 7: Best Alternatives & Similar Whiskeys

Tuesday 10th of January 2023

[…] Old Forester 100, Buffalo Trace […]

Old Forester 86 Bourbon Review: (Everything to know: Is it Good?)

Monday 19th of December 2022

[…] Old Forester 100, Buffalo Trace […]

Early Times vs Old Forester: Which Bourbon Wins?

Sunday 11th of December 2022

[…] Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey 81 […]

Old Forester 86 vs Wild Turkey 81: (Which Bourbon Wins?)

Monday 14th of November 2022

[…] Jack Daniel’s, Buffalo Trace […]

Evan Williams vs Old Forester 86: (Which Bourbon Wins?)

Monday 14th of November 2022

[…] Bulleit Bourbon, Buffalo Trace […]