Thanks to /u/I_SAID_NO_GOLDFISH for the sample of this dram. I served it up to my fellow Toronto Whiskey Nerds recently.
Prior to having Old Grand-Dad 114, I and others had reviewed 3 Canadian whiskies, and not great ones.
Then we moved onto this one. And I, honestly, don’t know much about it. At all. I know that Beam Suntory calls it one of “The Olds”, making me wonder if it’s one of the Old Ones from H.P. Lovecraft’s books. Delving below my conscious, stirring rough thoughts that we all have, floating them up into my face.
So was I about to drink pure Madness? No, of course not. That’s fucked up and out of one of my Dungeons and Dragons games. No.
Originally created by Raymond B. Hayden, this is named after his Grandfather, Basil Hayden, Sr. That’s something to live up to. I’ve had Basil before… will this taste like it? The whiskey, not the man.
So I didn’t know all of that before trying this. I knew that this is rather beloved around here, and it comes in a 80, 86, and 100 proof offering as well. So I’m starting at the top.
Let’s see if I fall to the bottom.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 5YR 5/8
Nose: Candy corn, wood, plum, orange zest, mountain air
At first all I can smell is the Candy corn element. It’s quite strong. After a few minutes that mellows into a nice mixture of wood and plum, with some orange.
And Mountain Air. Took me so long to figure it out. Just that faint smell of clean ice and low Oxygen. Granted that smell is probably me just smelling an odd plant and having trouble figuring out what I’m smelling, so I attribute it to the mountain air.
Taste: Plum, cinnamon, hot, caramel
Okay, stop for a second. It’s 4 flavours. I get that. So it’s not complex.
That said: Holy fucking hell is this hot! And each of those flavours are up front and ready to go. Big, bold flavours. Like eating some type of plum pie. Really tasty. And great mouthfeel too.
Finish: Cinnamon, honey, oak, lime
Again, 4 flavours. Not that many right? Yet all 4 of them share the limelight like a proper group of musicians.
Conclusion: So this is a rarity that pops up every so often. It’s simple, yet big. Bold. Amazing, nice, good flavours. Nothing off putting. Great nose.
Is it complex? No. That’s holding it back. Yet I think these ones should be celebrated for doing it right, so I like it.
Now can I find a bottle of it? More likely to catch lightning in a bottle in this country.
Bourbon review #84, Kentucky review #59, Whiskey Network review #584