Discover the differences between Maker’s Mark vs Old Forester in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!
|Nose||Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, almond|
|Palate||Rye spice, caramel, dried fruit, nuts|
|Finish||Long, caramel, rye spice|
|Alcohol content||90 proof (45% ABV)|
|How to drink||Rocks, cocktails|
|Similar to||Jim Beam, Four Roses, Old Elk|
Its popularity lies in its signature smoothness and affordable price making a great entry-level bourbon.
The nose has a nail polish note that fades into vanilla and cherry as you let it develop in the glass.
On the palate Maker’s Mark (Similar Bourbons) delivers vanilla, caramel, cherry and honey providing a pleasant mouthfeel.
The finish has a moderate length, is sweet with very little warmth and just a dash of black pepper.
Adding a drop of water makes it taste like a Tootsie Pop, while tuning down the spicy note making it easier to sip.
This makes the Maker’s Mark a bit sweeter and smoother while providing a bready flavor.
Nothing stands-out but there are no off-putting notes as it is nicely balanced, yet with enough body.
It makes a good bottle to those new to bourbon or liquors in general or a nice “everyday whisky” for those looking for a non-challenging sipper.
There are few facts about Maker’s Mark worth knowing:
- Maker’s Mark is made from 70% corn, 16% red wheat, and 14% malted barley.
- While most whiskeys age for a set amount of time, Maker’s is bottled when the tasters call it to be ready; that is between 6 and 7 years.
- This one of the few whiskey brands in the United States that uses “whisky” instead of “whiskey” in its name due to the founders Scottish heritage.
- Maker’s bottles stand out from the rest due to the red wax seal that is still made by hand nowadays.
- Maker’s Mark is owned by Beam Suntory, a Japanese drinks giant who also holds Jim Beam, although they are crafted at different distilleries.
Old Forester 86
|Nose||Brown sugar, caramel, ethanol|
|Palate||Vanilla, banana, oak, spice|
|Alcohol content||86 proof (43% ABV)|
|How to drink||Rocks, cocktails|
|Similar to||Buffalo Trace, Old Forester 100|
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–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 and tasty cocktail.
Old Forester (Best Bourbon) is an easy drinker with nothing remarkable or off-putting, getting the job done providing good value for the money.
A solid option among the bourbons at this price range at they tend to be rougher in the edges making a good bottom-dweller bourbon.
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.
- This brand is owned by Brown-Forman which also holds Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve.
Maker’s Mark vs Old Forester: Price comparison
Prices are approximate and stated in USD:
|Old Forester 86||$24|
Maker’s Mark vs Old Forester: Which is better?
Maker’s Mark is a smoother and sweeter drinker
|Whiskey||Maker’s Mark||Old Forester|
- Maker’s Mark is a good wheated bourbon, sweet and smooth, and very easy to drink.
- Definitely not the most complex or interesting but makes a good “everyday whiskey” or when in the mood for an easy sip.
- Old Forester is a good budget option to make cocktails and an improvement over most bourbons at its price range as they tend to have rougher edges.
I am a bar and liquor shop owner in Oaxaca, Mexico where I have tasted hundreds of different spirits; perhaps more than I should!