For this month’s blind tasting Blake and I decided to go with three Old Forester expressions. Here’s the stats on each:

Old Forester 86 (OF86)

86 proof


Old Forester Whiskey Row Series Bottled-in-Bond (BIB)

100 proof


Old Forester Whiskey Row Series 1920 Prohibition Style

115 proof 


Old Forester, lovingly referred to as Ole’ Fo’, was and still is an absolute must-have in my living space. Whether that living space be various apartments with good buddies or now home with my lady friend, OF86 is on the shelf. It’s my favorite $20 whiskey, complex enough to enjoy neat and cheap enough to toss a cube and a splash of Coke in without regret. 

Blake and I have a history that is rich with Ole’ Fo’ 86. We were in a band for the better part of five years and whether it was practice, recording, cabin sessions or a live show, Ole’ Fo’ was the sixth member, always keeping the atmosphere loose and the music jammy. I think for me, post-live show hangouts with fans and friends are some of my favorite memories, and yeah there’s some pretty wild stories but we’ll save those for another time. For now, let’s get to the experiment. 

Once again (like my last blog featuring Four Roses) we are doing a blind tasting to see if these various priced whiskeys, made by the same distillery, are worth your hard-earned scratch or nay. Mike Veach was gracious enough to host this tasting, pouring our glasses in identical order minutes before we arrived, allowing the whiskey to breath. Sniffing out the OF 86 was fairly simple for both of us. It’s familiar blend of vanilla, corn, banana and finish of oak and spices is like an old friend. 

All three were similar flavor profiles, yet the higher proofs added rich caramel and brown sugar notes for me. After going back and forth with the BIB and Prohibition I was able to decipher which one was which. The Prohibition’s deeper rich oak and black pepper finish was finally what gave it away for me. It also was my favorite of the day. Blake chose the Bottled-in-Bond for his. So are they worth the money? I believe so. The BIB & Prohibition are clearly superior versions of the OF 86 and deserve their price tags and are an accurate reflection of their quality. If you’re not an OF 86 fan then you will 100% disagree with this result, but you’d also be disrespecting my old friend Ole’ Fo’. (laughing at this last line whilst sipping some 86). Cheers!

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller