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Old Forester 86 Bourbon Review: Everything you need to know!

Discover everything about the Old Forester 86 Bourbon in this in-depth review that answers all your related questions!

Old Forester 86 tasting notes: How does it taste?

NoseBrown sugar, caramel, ethanol
PalateVanilla, banana, oak, spice
FinishCaramel, oak
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toOld Forester 100, 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.

Old Forester 86 rating: Is it Good?

Better than bourbons at at this price range


Old Forester 86 tastes better than what its price suggests and way better than bourbons and whiskeys at this price range such as Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s.

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.

It won’t blow you away with a memorable taste, but doesn’t have the nail polish notes of most bourbons at this price range, getting the job done providing good value for the money.

How to drink Old Forester 86?

Neat or rocks

This is an easy drinker that you can down neat as it does not burn on the way down.

Add a large ice ball if you want to chill it and can also be used a whiskey for cocktails as the 86 proof makes it a bit more flavorful than those bottled at 80 proof.

Old Forester 86: Mash bill

72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley

The 1920 is made from a mash comprised of 72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley which is the standard mash used by every Old Forester offering.

Old Forester 86: Age

No age statement

It doesn’t have an age statement but is aged for around 4 years.

Is it chill-filtered?


Old Forester 86 is a chill-filtered release which is the norm across bourbons at this price range.

Old Forester 86: Alternatives

Buffalo Trace & Old Forester 100


Often compared to the Buffalo Trace although this one is bit pricier but a better bourbon overall as it is just as smooth but offers a more flavorful experience.

I always recommend going for the Old Forester 100 which makes the best Old Forester for the money. The additional proof makes it creamier and more tasty and it can easily be tamed with a drop of water providing a better deal.

The Old Forester 86 is infinitely better than Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s which around the same price level but feel thinner and are plagued with weird tasting notes.

Old Forester 86: Price

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Total Wine$20

This is good value for the money as this bourbon drinks quite nicely.

Old Forester 86: Alcohol content

86 proof (43% ABV)

When bourbons are bottled at a mere 80 proof they feel thin and watered-down. At 86 you get more body and a better experience.

Does it expire?

Alcoholic beverages do not expire

It will last for years as long as you store it in a cool place and away from the sunlight.

I strongly suggest drinking it ASAP once the content is down to 25% as liquors start developing awkward notes past this level.

How is it made?

  1. Old Forester is the first bourbon ever bottled as they were regularly sold in containers.
  2. Made from a mash of corn, rye and malted barley.
  3. After the grains have been milled and mashed, they are fermented for five to seven days with a proprietary yeast strain that is grown fresh daily at the Old Forester Distillery.
  4. This long fermentation process adds depth and complexity according to Old Forester.
  5. Following fermentation, the grains are twice distilled before being matured in new, American oak casks for around 4 years.

Old Forester 86: Cheat Sheet

Type of WhiskyBourbon
Age statement4 years
Is it good?Yes
Is it top-shelf?No
Does it expire?No
Good for beginners?Yes
Good for cocktails?Yes
Good with Coke?Yes
Calories per shot108