Hugely flavorful and full of classic Beam nuttiness and plenty of dark sweets and spice.
A pervasive floral note disrupts the aroma, and the finish is a bit forgettable.
On the heels of last week’s review of the bottom-ish shelf Old Granddad Bottled in Bond, it seems fitting to follow up with its “big brother”, which clocks in at a hefty 114 proof and does not have an age statement, and typically only costs $3-5 more than the bonded version.
For a bit more information on the Old Granddad bourbon brand, see the review of OGD Bottled in Bond (linked above). In summary, Old Granddad is an old brand that was acquired by Fortune Brands (now known as Beam-Suntory) along with Old Crow and Old Overholt in the 1980s after National Distillers exited the American whiskey industry. With Beam at the helm, the name of the game with these brands is affordable, easy to find, and near the bottom shelf. Unlike the other bourbons made at the Jim Beam distillery, Old Granddad (and Basil Hayden) are distilled from a uniquely high-rye mash bill that is supposedly the same used by National Distillers.
- Distilled, aged, and bottled at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY
- Mash bill of 63% corn, 27% rye, 10% malted barley
- No age statement
- Bottled at 57% ABV (114 proof)
Nose: In a word, huge. Dark, viscous caramel, spiced toffee, chai tea, and peanut brittle assault my senses (in a good way) with a bit of an earthy undertone. As the bourbon rests in the glass, a floral note – like pollen drifting around in the air of a flower shop – develops. Rather than adding an extra dimension, the floral note muddles everything else, and I’d prefer that it had stayed hidden.
Palate: There’s a substantial ethanol bite that largely subsides if you give the dram at least 15-20 minutes of rest in the glass. Spiced toffee and peanut butter dominate the arrival, with some salted caramel and cocoa developing further in. The flavors are big, bold, and brash. This bourbon is the definition of a punch in the mouth!
Finish: Muddled maltiness, caraway, chocolate cream, and peanuts. Moderate in length and somewhat forgettable.
A note on water: A splash of water mutes the floral note on the nose a bit, and helps to clarify the flavors on the palate, while reducing the ethanol bite a bit more. I’d HIGHLY suggest adding some. The ideal ratio for me personally is 1/2 tsp water to 3/4 oz bourbon.
Buying Recommendation: Buy it now! Old Granddad 114 has its flaws, but overall it’s an absolute flavor bomb who’s richness and intensity is unmatched in the sub-$25 price range, and it’s a big step up from the bonded version. Enjoyed neat and undiluted, this is a manly man’s whiskey: big, brash, and bold, it’ll punch you in the mouth then wrap you in a hairy chested bear hug. With a splash of water, it becomes a comforting fireside companion. As a bonus, it also makes a unique Old Fashioned and a damn good Manhattan. I thoroughly enjoyed my first bottle of this, and since then my cabinet has never failed to have a bottle of Old Granddad 114 in it!