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Old Forester 1870 vs Woodford Reserve: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Old Forester 1870 vs Woodford Reserve in this in-depth comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!

Old Forester 1870 Original Batch

old-forester-1870-original-batch
NoseRipe fruit, vanilla, caramel, ethanol
PalateFruitcake, caramel, cinnamon, oak
FinishMedium, oak spice, caramel
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat, rocks
Similar toOld Forester 1920, Statesman

The nose is strong in a fruitcake note, with hints of caramel and vanilla and just a whiff of ethanol.

The fruitcake note remains on the palate, along a drizzle of cinnamon, toasted caramel and a subtle touch of oak.

The finish has a medium length, with a bit of oak bitterness, but nothing too severe, and more charred caramel to it.

Very little heat in this bourbon making it an easy mellow pour, almost too mellow, but a great option for those who want an overly easy sipper with no troubling flavors.

Nothing remarkable about the Original Batch, just a pleasant bourbon from start to finish, perfect when in the mood for an easy uncomplicated sipper.

Old Forester 1870 drinks nicely neat or rocks, although this is not something I would use to make cocktails as I feel it lacks the punch to deliver a tasty Old Fashioned.

The Old Forester Rye is more punchy promising to make your cocktail more interesting.

Old Forester 1870: facts

  • Aged for up to 4 and a half years.
  • Mash bill is comprised of 72% corn, 18% rye, 10% malted barley.
  • 1870 honors the year in which Brown-Forman’s founder began batching whiskey from three different warehouses as a means to ensure uniformity.

Woodford Reserve

woodford-reserve
NoseMint, honey, vanilla, citrus
PalateSweet oak, cinnamon, mint, ripe fruit
FinishOak, caramel, baking spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toWoodford Reserve Wheat

Woodford Reserve is pleasant and subtle on the nose, with hints of wood, mint, vanilla and caramel.

Palate is sweet and spicy yet entirely smooth. Some oak up front, but in moderation, along cinnamon, mint, and a sweet fruity note.

The finish brings additional sweetness, along oak, and satisfying warmth that lingers.

This bourbon is nicely balanced, body is creamy and does not have any off-putting or demanding notes reasons to make it one of the top-selling bourbons.

Woodford Reserve makes a great sipper due to its smoothness and is yet spicy due to rich cinnamon notes.

This is a sweet and mellow bourbon with the right level of heat that drinkers of all levels will appreciate alike.

Excellent everyday bourbon, smooth and clean, good both neat and on ice.

I find it somewhat weak to make great cocktails.

I’d rather use the Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey that has many tasting notes in common but with additional rye in the mash making it more spicy.

Woodford Reserve: facts

  • Mash is made from 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% barley
  • This bourbon ages for 7 years in one of the few warehouses that uses heat cycling. This process involves cooling and heating the air to closely control the aging.
  • Earned gold and double gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

What do the Old Forester 1870 and Woodford Reserve have in common?

Made from the same mash and bottled at the same proof

These bourbons are made from the same mash comprised of 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% barley which is the standard mash used by every Old Forester and Woodford Reserve bourbons as they belong to the same parent company.

Both brands are owned by Kentucky-based Brown Forman along Jack Daniel’s.

They are also bottled at the same 90 proof.

Are Old Forester 1870 and Woodford Reserve the same bourbon?

Crafted at different locations and aged at different lengths

These bourbons are crafted at different distilleries and aged at different lengths providing sufficient contrasts.

The 1870 is aged for 4.5 years while the Woodford Reserve for 7.

Old Forester 1870 vs Woodford Reserve: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Bourbon Price
Old Forester 1870 Original Batch$36
Woodford Reserve $30

Old Forester 1870 vs Woodford Reserve: Which is better?

The Woodford Reserve tastes like a grown-up version

WhiskeyOld Forester 1870Woodford Reserve
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • As you might imagine these bourbons are incredibly similar as they are made from the same mash.
  • Additional aging adds toasty oak to the Woodford Reserve, along a rich cinnamon note making it taste more mature.
  • The Old Forester 1870 is a sweet and easy drinker, perhaps too easy, but quite satisfying.
  • No better in this case, choose the flavor profile that better suits your taste.