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Jack Daniel’s vs Old Forester 86: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Jack Daniel’s vs Old Forester 86 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Whiskey is better for You!

Jack Daniel’s No. 7

NoseBanana, oak, wood polish
PalateCaramel, banana, oak char
FinishCitrus, black pepper, oak spice
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkCoke
Similar toWoodford Reserve, Ezra Brooks

The nose brings a plastic banana note, with hints of brown sugar, oak and just a bit of wood polish.

On the palate, Jack Daniel’s falls flat, with very little body as it lacks texture. Somewhat sweet up-front, with oak char bitterness coming behind overwhelming the sweetness as you keep drinking it.

The finish is almost non-existent, hot and peppery, with a hint of citrus and something that reminds me of glue.

Jack Daniel’s (Review) was my first whiskey and something I enjoyed 20 years ago, but my taste has evolved and now is something I would only drink if drowned in Coke.

It’s just too harsh to make a nice sipping whiskey although it gets better when adding rocks. Ice tunes down the heat and the pepper making it acceptable.

The best use you can make of the Jack Daniel’s (Similar Whiskeys) is in cocktails, especially when mixed with Coke. In fact, I can’t think of something better except for those Bacardi rums to mix with Coke.

Drink Jack & Coke or ginger ale and you will be very happy with it.

Consider further alternatives by reading my post: Discover the Best Jack Daniel’s Bottle where I rank every release.

There are a few things worth knowing about Jack Daniel’s:

  • Jack Daniel’s is the best-selling whiskey across the globe with sales of over 100 million bottles per year.
  • Most distillers adhere to a set amount of years to declare a whiskey ready for bottling but Jack Daniel’s tasters decide when is ready based on color, aroma and flavor. 
  • Jack Daniel’s is filtered for up to 12 days through 10 feet (3 meters) of homemade sugar maple charcoal. This process removes some of the harshness from the spirit.
  • The Jack Daniel’s brand is owned by the Brown-Forman Company along the Old Forester, Woodford Reserve and Herradura Tequila.

Old Forester 86

NoseBrown sugar, caramel, ethanol
PalateVanilla, banana, oak, spice
FinishCaramel, oak
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toEvan Williams, Buffalo Trace

The nose delivers a sharp ethanol hit that quickly fades 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 whiff of charred oak spice providing a bitter note.

The finish is short, 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 cocktail.

Old Forester 86 is an easy drinker with nothing remarkable or off-putting, getting the job done providing good value for the money as it tastes better than bourbons at this price range such as Wild Turkey 81 or Jim Beam.

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

  • Aged for 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.
  • Crafted at the Brown-Forman Distillery in Shively, KY.

What do Jack Daniel’s and Old Forester have in common?

Owned by the same parent company

Jack Daniel’s and Old Forester, along Woodford Reserve are owned by Brown Forman. Despite sharing ownership these brands are crafted independently.

Jack Daniel’s vs Old Forester 86: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Jack Daniel’s No. 7$17
Old Forester 86$20

Jack Daniel’s vs Old Forester 86: Which is better?

Old Forester 86 is a better tasting pour

WhiskeyJack Daniel’sOld Forester 86
  • Old Forester tastes better than the bourbons at this price range providing great value for the money.
  • No harsh or weird tasting notes making a nice and easy sip or something to use as a whiskey mixer although it lacks the punch to make tasty cocktails.
  • Jack Daniel’s is plagued with odd notes that remind of glue and window cleaner. Despite that it drinks incredibly well with Coke but serves no purpose beyond that making me prefer the OF86.