The flavors are big and bold. The finish is long, balanced, and pleasant.
The nose has an odd, sharp floral note to it, and the palate has enough ethanol bite to distract from the other flavors.
Old Granddad is an historic bourbon brand that has been around since the mid-1800s. Originally created by distiller Raymond Hayden to commemorate his grandfather Basil Hayden, the Old Granddad label changed ownership a couple times in the 19th century before landing in the capable hands of the National Distillers Products (NDP) group, who owned and produced for the brand until their liquidation in 1987. Along with Old Granddad, when NDP sold their whiskey brands, Beam-Suntory (who was then known as Fortune Brands) also acquired Old Overholt, Old Taylor, and Old Crow. Old Taylor has since that time been sold to Sazerac (Buffalo Trace).
If this whole history seems a bit confusing to you, you’re not alone. While I like to give at least a brief introduction to each whiskey I review, this is in no way comprehensive, and I’d encourage you to do your own research. American whiskey history really is quite fascinating!
In it’s modern form, Old Granddad (OGD) bourbon exists at three proofs – 80, 100, and 114, with the middle also carrying full bottled in bond designation. While produced at the Beam distillery in Clermont, OGD does not share the same bourbon mash bill as the other Beam bourbons; rather, OGD, along with Basil Hayden, carries a high rye mash of about double the rye content of Beam’s other bourbons, as well as those of many prominent Kentucky distilleries. At about $20 for the 100 proof bonded (a few dollars less for the 80 proof and a few dollars more for the 114), OGD represents one of few high-rye bourbons to occupy the lower shelves of the bourbon aisle.
- Distilled, aged, and bottled by Beam-Suntory at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY
- Mash bill of 63% corn, 27% rye, 10% malted barley
- Aged at least 4 years
- Bottled at 50% ABV (100 proof)
Nose: Sweet and nutty, with peanut brittle and bubble gum up front. There’s a peculiar sweet/floral (is candied flowers a thing?) note that doesn’t quite seem like it belongs in bourbon. Rounding out the nose are notes of corn syrup, stale cake, and cinnamon with a fair amount of ethanol permeating everything. Overall its rather mellow, dry, and fairly bland except for the odd floral note.
Palate: The arrival is nutty, floral, and quite sharp. The ethanol bite crescendos and never quite dissipates, muddying notes of raw corn, peanuts, barrel char, rye spice, and burnt toffee. The body is heavy, the flavor is bold, and the overall presentation is harsh and unrefined.
Finish: Things mellow back down and initially sweet notes of nut butter and vanilla linger before taking on a slightly bitter charcoal note. Enough sweetness remains to make the long finish quite pleasant.
A note about water: Water both helps and hurts this dram. It considerably thins the nose and makes that floral note even sharper, but it’s required to tame the heat and harshness of the palate. Personally, I’ll be adding a bit of water more times than not to this one.
Buying Recommendation: Don’t spend your money on it. In my opinion, this bourbon has little to offer in regards to *drinking it neat*. I tried adding a cube to it as well, which made it completely fall apart. I don’t particularly enjoy the flowery note that refuses to die when I add bitters and sugar either. One thing this bourbon DOES do exceptionally well is make Manhattans. It’s dry enough to essentially act like a rye whiskey in the presence of sweet vermouth, and the floral notes complement the bitters quite well. For that purpose alone would I recommend buying this bourbon, although for the same price I’d rather buy Old Overholt Bonded, or spend a couple dollars more and get the much improved Old Granddad 114 Proof.