Interesting about the bananas comments. Maybe I am getting used to JD because I almost don't see it anymore, there is a fruity taste but I can't distinguish peach from banana from papaya anymore. Maybe it's me, but I do feel too the brand has improved significantly in recent years. It's not just the release of higher proof versions including SB in the last 10 years, the batches are being selected more carefully IMO, and therefore, I wonder if people are basing more on experience of some years back (with which I fully agree). Anyway good to see the comments that people mostly won't refuse a glass, I agree with that since it is a characterful whiskey although understandably not everyone will select it as a favourite.
You guys who do the local get-togethers (wish I could join you), why don't you do a blind tasting of bourbons and a JD, ideally SB or an 86 or 90 but even the 80 if necessary? As long as all the proofs are in the ballpark it shouldn't matter. It would be interesting to hear the results. You could either tell people a Jack is included, or not.
Last bottle I bought was pretty good. I think I wrote some notes around here, too. But to the point, the banana notes are pretty minimal compared to say, the late 90s (which was a period when I was going through a lot of Jack).
Life's too short, and there's too much good whiskey within reach.