View Full Version : Jim Beam Black vs. Old Forester
I'm a bourbon lover on a budget. Ideally I would rather have some more expensive bourbons, but right now that just isn't in the cards. Old Forester is obviously cheaper and I've heard good things. Jim Beam Black is what I've been drinking. How do they compare? Are there any other recommendations in the general price range? I'll probably bite the bullet in a few months and treat myself to something semi-special, Woodford, 1792, Eagle Rare, etc., any suggestions there would be good as well.
There's some terrific bourbons available for around $20. You can find out more about these by prowling around this site, but I could recommend some right off.
First, between JB Black and OF, I would say both. I've never done a side-by-side, but I love 'em both. OF is a couple dollars cheaper so you might as well start there. We did a blind tasting of different OFs and the current 86 pf release did quite well.
For something harder to find, W.L. Weller Antique 7yr / 107 proof is amazing. It's a "wheater," which is to say it uses wheat in the recipe instead of rye. This is a must-buy no matter what your budget. Sometimes you can find it for under $20 (I payed $17 in Maryland) but it's usually a bit more.
For a bourbon that's at the other end of the flavor spectrum, Old Grand-Dad BIB (i.e., 100 proof) is one of my favorites. It has a high rye content. This is is produced by Jim Beam and is the same mashbill (recipe) as Basil Hayden (a much more expensive "small batch" bourbon).
Finally, for a single-barrel experience Evan Williams Single Barrel (EWSB) is often for sale at or under $20 in many locales. It's a very well-regarded bourbon here at sb.
There are many more but these are some of my personal favorites.
I will second the nomination of Old Grand Dad. I've never had the BIB, but I enjoy the 86-proof and I love the 114-proof OGD's. They have a very distinctive, old time bourbon flavor.
Other economical bottlings I have enjoyed very much are Elijah Craig 12-year old and Elmer T. Lee. ETL may be getting a bit out of your price range, though.
And don't pass up Wild Turkey 101-proof.
I would give Elijah Craig 12 year , Buffalo Trace, Rittenhouse BIB,WT Rye and Russel's Reserve, Bulliet, Eagle Rare, EWSB and definately Elmer T. Lee. The ones in blue would be some of my Favs. Welcome aboard.
If you like the OF try the 100 Proof. The flavor is much better than the lower proof. Buffalo trace will give you a wide range of flavors to seek out.
When you want to spend a little more I would suggest Wild Turkey Rare Breed to start.
The Old Forester 86 is an excellent example of a very good bourbon for not many dollars. Though it states it is only 4 years old...it seems older than that to me. If you can find any older dimpled bottles, buy them first, as I feel the older stock is better than the current offering.
The 100 proof is great too, especially the last of the early 80's tax-stamped examples. Those are gold in my book.
Thanks for all the info. I think I'll probably go with Old Forester to start then maybe try some others later on. Unfortunately, NC is pretty regulated so some of the newer/lesser knowns bourbons are difficult to obtain unless I go out of state.
I would recommend OGD BIB, JW Dant BIB, Old Ezra 7 yr. old. and Wild Turkey Rye.
This may be a bit late but, I think that Elijah Craig 12 yo is the bourbon with the most 'bang for your buck.' A nice, solid, full-bodied bourbon with a very well balanced oak and maple flavor. If you like to drink whiskey neat or with a splash of water, I strongly recommend the Old Forester. I haven't had the opportunity to try the 100 proof but the 86 doesn't allow for many complaints. I was very surprised to read above about it's young age because it does have some very nice char and oak to compliment a brown sugar flavor. I also like JBB but I only like it over ice and I think that, all things considered, OF is a better tasting bourbon. Also, Evan Williams 1783 is very enjoyable for its price (in my case, a little over 10 bucks). And, as mentioned above, you certainly don't want to overlook Wild Turkey 101. It's a bit hot right out of the bottle but a little water fixes that. WT101 is also a bit of a benchmark. Honest, straightforward, and high in quality. When I think of bourbon, this one seems to represent it more than any other. Oh, and it doesn't cost very much. Hope this helps.
heading to NC next week, for a Zappa show in Asheville. was hoping to find some goodies. noticed that nc was just as dry as Alabama. did notice some good beer stores down the street from venue. by the way Jim Beam Black!
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