I almost feel like I don’t need to introduce the Old Grand Dad Bourbon series.
It was created by Raymond Basil and named after his grandfather. Or really everyone’s grandfather. His name was Basil Hayden Sr. So I guess the other bourbon wasn’t good enough in the naming department. Or he was bad at names.
I’m going to guess the last one.
Luckily, as the bard said, “This bourbon could be called shit juice and it’d still taste sweet”. He had a way with words.
So this is a bargain brand that is a daily sipper. And the wonderful thing is, for us whiskey nerds, we can try it at different strengths.
I was able to amass samples of 3 out of 4 of the proofs (damn 86 proof is tough to find) and try them out.
So there you have it: A heritage of a company making accessible bourbon for the people, all owned by Beam, and then being fun. It’s too bad they are discontinuing the 114, but that’s Beam being Beam for you.
Let’s see how these taste, shall we?
Old Grand Dad is the standard offering. This one is 80 proof (US system of proof), and is usually the first one you end up trying.
It also happens to be the only one in Ontario that we can buy.
You may now weep for us. Let’s see how it tastes.
Price: $34.95 (CAD) at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 6/8
Nose: Cherry, wood furniture, butter, lemon zest, corn, caramel
Light now. Takes a long time to pick out flavours from it. Cherry and wood are the most dominant notes.
It’s hard to pick up much without really trying. No off notes, however when I do get something, it smells far off.
Taste: Strawberry, whip cream, oak, caramel, watercress
Watery. Like a duck’s farts.
Lighter notes, each one seems quite distant. And watered down. Not bad to drink, just feels like there could be more.
Finish: Butter, cherry, cola, nutmeg, chestnut
Nice buttery finish. More cola as time goes on. I don’t miss drinking pop anymore. Kinda nutty and fruity, but otherwise… meh.
Conclusion: It’s the entry level one. It’s not brash like the 114 proof, and tastes like it’s meant to be mixed. It’s not bad to sip on. I’ve had a lot worse bourbons at this proof.
Just feels like it’s missing it’s potential. Oh well. Beam’s gotta make money somehow.
Old Grand Dad Bottled in Bond is like the above, but follows the rules for Bottled in Bond (which I love) that are set in the US legal system.
Without getting into that too much (I recommend you Google them), it means this one will be 100 proof (US system, again).
So a stronger, but not the strongest (yet) version of Old Grand Dad. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 7.5YR 4/8
Nose: Butter, cashew, nutmeg, cherry, wood, linen spray, green melon, corn
Similar to before, however the initial notes are more butter, nuts, and spice. Or what I call a good Sunday.
As time goes on, you have the cherry and wood flavours, though they are more evident than before. There’s an aerosol note that I’m not loving. Sends a signal to my brain not to drink.
I mean, we all learned that lesson from being kids, right?
Taste: Cherry, cream tart, caramel, pepper, peach, cream soda
Strong than the above (duh). Instead of a light red fruit note, it’s a more tart and strong note. More fruit, the whipped cream has gone to a creamier flavour, and all in all, much better mouth feel.
Still feels like I’m missing something though.
Finish: Butter, pepper, strawberry, basil, mint, cola, cashew, dry, peanut
Medium finish. Like the butter, and loving less cola. Before it really took over in the 80 proof, where here there’s more room.
It’s missing the long finish of the 114. And again, I feel like I’m missing a few things.
Conclusion: Better. A nice sipper. Actually I’d go and say that if I still had a daily sipper, this would be it (not that I”m bashing anyone who does, I just have too many samples and the manic desire to review when I drink). It’s very tasty.
I’m still missing some aspects that I enjoyed from the 114. But it’s way better than the standard.
Finally we have the soon to be dead Old Grand Dad 114. At least that’s what I’ve been told. And what some people are assuming. I mean, I couldn’t find anything that said it was going, save for people constantly asking if it’s going away.
The 1.75L size is gone though. That… seems excessive.
Let’s just see how this tastes while it’s here, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 5YR 3/6
Nose: Oak, cherrywood, green melon, strawberry, brown sugar, brown butter, cloves, peanut
The cherry and wood are now one and the same. There’s still some red fruit there, however it’s hard to separate the cherry from the wood. Lots of fruit, good brown sugar/butter/nuttiness.
This is where it’s at. I wonder if this is barrel proof or not?
Taste: Walnut oil, pepper, brown sugar, peanut, ginger, cloves
Nice mouth feel. First thing I notice. It’s hot, but not overly so. More like having black peppered beef, or whatever white people like me think is hot.
Good amount of ginger, the cloves shine through, and the nuttiness from the nose continues.
Finish: Molasses, cola, cinnamon, lemon rind, caramel, butter
Long finish. The length a finish should be when it tastes good. Lots of butter, good amount of acid, cola isn’t taking over too much, and there’s a good amount of spice that lingers in the background.
Conclusion: This is the second time I’ve reviewed Old Grand Dad 114, and I still enjoy it just as much. I gave it longer and had more this time (much to the chagrin of my balance). It’s still tasty. This doesn’t kid around.
I will almost hazard to say this: This bourbon is the kind of bourbon I look for. Has some complexity, is brash, but still keeps that idea of doing each part of itself just right.
It’s a strong, nutty, brown sugar taste tour. This is the one to buy.
Unless the 86 proof is somehow better, which I don’t know.
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