Of course you can master DOF with an 85mm at f/1.4 below an example. It just needs lots of good practice.
I use it indoors and outdoors.
I don't use my micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 for portraits, because I more often than not photograph ladies. And it is overly sharp, it reveals "wrinkles to come, not even there yet", according to one of my favorite subjects. I use the manual focus 105mm f/2.5 AI-S for when the added focal length is preferable. Attachment#1 (jpg file)