Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon Review

Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon is one of Old Forester's flagship whiskeys. It's got plenty of fruit and classic bourbon flavors, is relatively low in alcohol, and quite enjoyable to drink. Learn more about it in our review!
Old Forester
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
86 Proof
MSRP: $22-$26
Review

Please enjoy our Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon Review!

“The First Bottled Bourbon”

Old Forester Began In 1870

Old Forester is a brand owned by the Brown-Forman Corporation. Its origins date back to the days when questionable ingredients were mixed and sold as bourbon. Old Forester’s founder, George Garvin Brown, was a pharmaceutical salesman at the time. Since whiskey was often prescribed for “medicinal purposes”, there was a need to have a product available that was of a high quality. Additionally, during the early to mid 1800’s, most whiskey was dispensed directly from barrels. Consequently, there was no guaranteeing the contents of those barrels. Bottling on a larger scale was starting to become more feasible, and George Garvin Brown was the first to exclusively sell his bourbon in sealed bottles.

Is It Old Forrester or Old Forester?

Old Forester Bourbon gets its name from Dr. William Forrester, a friend of George’s and the physician who endorsed his whiskey. George was actually a rectifier, not a distiller. A rectifier is one who blends and packages whiskeys from other distilleries. The original Old Forrester Bourbon was mainly a blend from three local distilleries, Mattingly, Atherton and Mellwood, and was bottled at 90 proof. When Dr. Forrester retired, the second “r” was dropped from the bourbon’s name, arriving at the spelling that we see today – Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. That’s another thing – Old Forester spells the word “whisky” without the “e” that most other US distilleries use.

Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon Back Label - Review
Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon Back Label – Review
Tasting Notes – Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon

Let’s taste it:

🛌 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉Nose: Fairly sweet, with lightly burnt caramel, sweet light brown sugar, banana, golden delicious apples, hint of peach; light toast; light tart orange peel; lightly floral; dash of cinnamon; mild dry oak; relatively mild alcohol
👉Taste: Brown sugar, simple syrup, caramel, red delicious apples, sweet cherries and sweet banana; light dry oak; light bitter orange citrus; relatively light mouthfeel but plenty of flavor
👉Finish: Becomes more dry, with light oak and char and some black pepper spice later on; lingering tart citrus; moderately long; mild burn

The nose is full of fruit, like banana, golden delicious apples & peaches, but with a bit of a citrus bite in the back. There are light floral notes, too. In addition, It’s fairly rich and sweet with brown sugar and caramel. Interestingly, the alcohol is a bit more evident than expected at 86 proof, but it is certainly not overpowering. The taste is fairly “soft”, with a relatively light mouthfeel, and ample sweetness from brown sugar and simple syrup. There’s also some caramel and light fruit from red delicious apples, cherries and sweet, over-ripe bananas. The finish is a bit of a contrast, becoming a bit more dry, with dry oak, char and a bit of spice and tart citrus. However, everything remains on the relatively mild side.

How Does Old Forester 86 Proof compare with Old Forester 100 Proof?

When compared to its higher proof sibling, there’s a bit more banana and sweetness in the nose of the 86 proof than the 100 proof. However, the flavor profiles are fairly similar. As would be expected, the flavors are somewhat less pronounced in the 86 proof than the 100 proof, and there is a lighter mouthfeel overall.

Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon - Full Bottle - Photo credit: Old Forester Web Site
Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon
Photo credit: Old Forester Web Site
Conclusion

Old Forester 86 Proof is a very pleasant bourbon. It is easy to drink and enjoyable with plenty of fruit and classic bourbon notes. It is a bit surprising how sweetly it starts out, buy yet leaves lingering tart citrus and mild dryness in its wake. Overall, this is an excellent bourbon for those just beginning their bourbon journey or for seasoned whiskey drinkers looking for a lower proof pour. Have you tried Old Forester 86 Proof bourbon? What did you think? Cheers!🥃

We hope you have enjoyed our Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon Review! Would you like to learn more about the Old Forester Distillery on Louisville’s Whiskey Row? Then check out our Old Forester Distillery Tour & Review! If you would like to learn about some other Old Forester Whiskeys, then you’ll want to read our Old Forester 1910 Bourbon Review and our Old Forester 1920 Bourbon Review!

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