I was in need of an every-day drinker that wouldn’t break the bank. While the entry Old Grand-Dad is a low 80-proof, and the Old Grand-Dad 114 bares its proof in the name, I was looking for something in the middle. Old Grand-Dad Bonded sounded just about right.
The Old Grand-Dad Brand
Old Grand-Dad, as a brand, was created by Raymond Hayden who named the product after his grandfather, Meredith Bail Hayden Sr. Today, the bottles carry a portrait of Hayden Sr. on the bottles.
The Hayden family’s roots lie in a distillery founded in 1840. In 1899, the Old Grand-Dad name passed to the American Medicinal Spirits Company (what a great name!), which later became the National Distillers Group. Whiskeys continued to be produced during Prohibition as “medicinal whiskey”. NDG’s brands included Old Crow, Old Overholt, and Old Taylor (noticing an Old theme?). National Distillers sold to Fortune Brands in 1987, which later became Beam Inc., to subsequently merge with Japanese producer Suntory to become Beam Suntory.
Old Grand-Dad Bonded conforms to the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 standards: a product of a single distillation season, by a single distiller, at a single distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least 4 years, and is bottled at 100 proof.
The mash bill is the same as some of Beam’s other high-rye bourbons, including Bookers and Basil Hayden – 63% corn, 27% rye, and 10% malted barley. This compares to the typical Jim Beam profile (shared by the Jim Beam and Knob Creek brands) of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. You’ll find 3 variations in the OGD line-up, a lower 80-proof rendition, the bonded we’re sampling, and a high-proof
We’re told to expect sweet butterscotch and red fruit on the nose, along with solid spice. The taste holds anise, caramel, vanilla, and soft pepper. The finish is long with anise and vanilla fading softly together. Let’s see what we taste …
Nose: Vanilla and caramel with buttered corn fritters. There are traditional peanut notes, characteristic of the Jim Beam brand. The nose is quite good.
Palate: Vanilla and caramel with baking spice. An amped-up Jim Beam with more rye spice and some fruit notes.
Finish: Medium and balanced with caramel, vanilla, oak char and baking spices to remind you this bourbon has a high-rye mash bill.
Overall: For the price point, this has a lovely nose. Rich and sweet, it’s like a stack of corn fritters drizzled in warm maple syrup. Priced around $22, this is a real bargain. The high-rye mash bill offsets the traditional sweetness of many of the Beam products.
If you like Basil Hayden but prefer more depth or hoped it held up better in ice or a cocktail, check out Old Grand-Dad Bonded that shares the same mash bill, just not the hype and advertising of BH. For a bargain-shelfer, this is great drinker and worthy of an everyday spot in your cabinet.