I have recently been sampling some of the un-sung heroes of the bourbon industry. One that has always intrigued me is Old Grand Dad. The brand, which is usually found on the bottom shelves of the store, comes in several proofsfrom 80 to 114. This is one of Jim Beams high-rye bourbons with 27% of the mash bill being rye.
I purchased the Old Grand Dad 114 to try. I prefer the higher alcohol content because I find there is always a fuller flavor with the higher proofs.
As I poured the first dram into a glass at arms-length away I was hit with a great aroma of spices. It was fantastic. When I nosed the dram I noticed that the flavors from the barrel wood (vanillas and caramels) were there but subdued. There was a great balance with the rye.
The flavor was great. Very bold! This is where the wood began to gain ground on the rye. I added a couple drops of water to see how that would influence the taste. It settled the bite down a bit but it also pulled back the bold flavors, which I did not prefer.
I began to do some internet research and found stacks of articles comparing it to Basil Hayden. Both are Beam products and they use the same mash bill. Although neither has an age statement Old Grand Dad 114 is about 6 years old and Basil Hayden is about 8 years old. Basil Hayden comes in at 40% ALC with the 114 is at 57% ALC. Also, the name Old Grand Dad actually refers to Basil Hayden and the bottle sports a likeness of him. And Basil Hayden is $5-$10 more. CLICK HERE is a really good article on the comparison.
Final Word: I found that I really like the 114 and will be purchasing more in the future. And for my friends who love Basil Hayden (you know who you are) give this a shot. Ill bet you convert!