Tag Archives: Beam

Old Grand Dad Bonded – Review

Old Grand Dad Bonded

Old Grand Dad Bonded
Old Grand Dad Bonded

Old Grand Dad Bonded is part of an Old Grand Dad brand that was launched by Raymond Haden in the 1840’s and named for his grandfather Basil Hayden. The Haden’s distilling days reach back to the 1790’s after the family moved from Maryland to Kentucky. Today, the brand resides with Beam-Suntory.

Old Grand Dad is unique in the Beam line with a high rye recipe. The current recipe for the line of Old Grand Dad Bourbons is thought to be similar to the original recipe back in the day. While the recipe is unique among Beam’s Bourbons, it seems to me it shares the standard Beam yeast.

The Old Grand Dad family consists of a standard 86-proof, a 100-proof bottled in bond (reviewed here) and a 114-proof barrel strength. Bottled-in-Bond is a certification requiring the Bourbon to be distilled during the same year and from the same distillery. It must also be aged in a bonded warehouse for at least four years. Lastly, the Bourbon is to be bottled at 100-proof. Bottled-in-Bond seems to be a bit of a relic these days, however, a lot of older labels retain the certification. These less trendy bottles with their amble 100-proof can make for a great value.

Details

No age statement 100-proof. High rye mash thought to be around 27% rye. Paid $20

Aroma

Caramel, roasted corn, oranges, toast, cinnamon

Flavor

Sweet caramel, Nutty. A little smokey, Burnt sugars. Minty. A little Red Hots

Overall

Old Grand Dad Bonded is a spicy and lively Bourbon. It dances in the mouth a bit and has a bite. It seems to have some properties of a younger Bourbon with roasted corn, but still picking up a bunch of barrel with sweetness, caramel, and charred wood.

I assume we have the standard Beam yeast here, which to me, is a  unique profile and I’m not always in the mood. That might keep this from being a regular bottle, or at least instead choose one of the more upscale Beam labels. Still, Old Grand Dad Bonded is a feisty Bourbon that works for a change of pace.

The pricing on Old Grand Dad Bonded is pretty great, although it seems a big price hike is on the way. Perhaps the word got out or it’s simply an overdue price correction on a generally overlooked bottle. Also, Old Grand Dad Bonded recently got a makeover label. The one pictured here is the retired branding, so likely Beam is polishing this one up and pricing it accordingly for the current market.

Recommendation

Buy a Bottle / 3.0 out of 5.0

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options and Further Research

Some other high rye Bourbons around the same price. I’d suggest looking into Four Roses Yellow Label, Redemption and Bulleit. You can also check out Old Grand Dad 114, which is high proof big brother and a also a pretty great value. Wild Turkey 101 I think has some similar feistiness and I think matches up well.

Links & Other Reviews

Old Grand-Dad 114 – Review

Old Grand-Dad 114 Background

Old Grand-Dad 114
Old Grand-Dad 114

Old Grand-Dad 114 is part of a larger Old Grand-Dad brand that was created in 1840’s by Raymond Haden. Old Grand-Dad was a reference to his grandfather Basil Hayden Sr. Basil was a distiller himself before when he moved with the family from Maryland to Kentucky in the 1780’s. Raymond Haden started a distillery on the family farm in 1790’s and the distillery was eventually sold in 1899. The distillery was closed for good during prohibition and the brand changed hands again to National Distillers Group who then sold it in 1987 to Fortune Brands, which became Beam.

The Haydens were said to  favored higher rye Bourbons and it’s thought Beam’s current high rye recipe used in Old Grand-Dad 114 is similar to what was made back in the day. Old Grand-Dad 114 is considered a barrel-proof Bourbon and is bottled at 114-proof.

In addition to the Old Grand-Dad brand, Beam has the Basil Hayden brand as a part of its Small Batch line. The Small Batch line also includes Knob Creek, Baker’s, and Booker’s.

Details

No age statement. 114-Proof. High rye mash thought to be around 27% rye. Paid $23

Aroma

Woody, light cloves. Ample caramel. Minty. Yeasty and biscuity. Orange zest.

Flavor

Sweet and caramel. That Beam nuttiness. Minty with some rye spiciness and touch of fresh cut grass. Woody and the finish is dry with medium astringency. Burnt flavors. Light alcohol burn.

Overall

Old Grand-Dad 114 is a little surprisingly light from what I’d expect at this proof. The finish is a little overly drying and there’s a little burnt-bitterness going on. Still a nice pour, although the story here is all in the value. I’m not sure I can think of another Bourbon that delivers at this price point. Closest might be Wild Turkey 101, which itself isn’t perfect, but easily to accept at its price tag.

I don’t want to oversell Old Grand-Dad 114 because this isn’t what I’ll be drinking when I hit the Powerball. It is, however, a pretty good Bourbon that becomes a great value when factoring in price. The proof alone pack a punch, but is mild for an easy sipper and the price also makes it a pocket-friendly and loud mixer. The Beam footprint is evident and I usually caution that the Beam yeast profile is not for everyone. It’s not for me every day, but some days it suits me fine.

Old Grand-Dad 114 is a bottle to get excited about. It’s forgotten as a mostly overlooked brand that, well, your grandpa might drink and not showcased in a trendy cocktail or whiskey bar. Old Grand-Dad 114 is a lower shelf dweller that you’ll probably have to lean over the counter to find.

Old Grand-Dad 114 is a nice quality Bourbon at a great price that hasn’t (yet) gotten swept up in the Bourbon craze. Now is your chance to drink it before it becomes cool.

Recommendation

Buy Again – 4.0/5.0 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options and Further Research

Old Grand-Dad 114 is a high rye Bourbon, but also a high/barrel proof. If you’re looking to research similar bottles in this price range, I’d suggest checking out Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Old Grand-Dad Bottled in Bond/100, Redemption Bourbon, Bulleit Bourbon, and Four Roses Small Batch.

Links & Other Reviews

Booker’s Small Batch Bourbon – Review

Booker’s Background

Booker's Bourbon
Booker’s Bourbon

Booker’s has a special place in my heart as not only one of my first upper shelf Bourbons, but also my first barrel proof Bourbon. I was enjoying Scotch and decided to try some Bourbons and this was one of them. I bought my first Booker’s at the airport in Las Vegas. I was standing waiting for my bags and noticed there was a liquor store right in the airport. Not a duty-free store, but an actual liquor store. This is ingenious! Vegas hotel bars can be hit and miss for decent whisk(e)y, but always expensive. So taking a bottle back to the room from the airport was a neat idea.

Booker’s launched in 1992 by and named after Jim Beam’s grandson and Beam master distiller Booker Noe. Booker’s originally was bottled up by Noe as gifts to friends and family and then was rolled out as a commercial release. Booker’s was noteworthy being “straight from the barrel” as unfiltered and barrel proof Bourbon. Booker’s was way ahead of its time as today unfiltered and barrel proof Bourbons are quite popular among enthusiasts. Booker’s is a part of Beam’s small batch Bourbon collection that includes Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, and Baker’s.

Booker’s isn’t particularly aged as far as premium Bourbons go at about 6-8 years old. So, one should expect a lively pour in addition to that unadulterated uncut goodness.

Details

7 Years, Aged 3 Months Old. Batch C06-B-15, 63.55%. Mash bill of 73% corn, 13% rye, and 10% barley. MSRP – $59.99 (2016 Price)

Aroma

Nutty, peanuts. Lots of caramel. Popcorn. Rich. Cedar wood. Distinctly Beam.

Flavor

Burnt popcorn. Toffee. Nutty. Biscuity. Roasted flavors. Potent. Dark fruits like raisin and currents. Sticky sweet caramel. Jolly Rancher. Hot alcohols. A little woody tannins in the finish

Overall

Booker’s is beefy both in proof and flavor. A little water dials things down a bit and take the edge off the alcohol. Dominant flavors seem to be corn and burnt sugars. Plus that nuttiness I get from the Beam yeast.

Booker’s can be hit and miss with me. Sometimes I really enjoy it and sometimes the corn and Beam yeast flavors don’t fit my mood. It weird and changes day to day for me. I think Beam Bourbon in general can be a little polarizing, but Booker’s maybe a little more so. It’s an iconic Bourbon, however, so certainly worth a try.

Beam has gotten a little more savvy with batches of Booker’s and in 2013 they stared putting better date codes on bottles. Before it was a typical cryptic industrial code and now it’s simply year and batch number. This bottle I’m reviewing here is from 2012, so before they rolled out the new codes. The more consumer friendly code I think encourages people to collect the bottles, especially with the nifty round table batches that were/are choses by a group of Bourbon nerds. Last couple years I’ve been picking up a bottle just for the heck of it.

Booker’s is priced I think reasonable enough and has been stable over the years. For a big, uncut, unfiltered barrel proof release it’s a good value. I think it’s a must buy for every Bourbon drinker at least once. From there you can decide if you’re a fan of the flavor profile.

Recommendation

Buy Again- 4.0 out of 5.0 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options and Further Research

As described Booker’s is a big barrel-proof Bourbon, so we’ll look at similar types around its price. If you can find it, every batch I’ve had of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof has been great. Another strong recommendation would be a private bottling of a Four Roses barrel. You can also check out Noah’s Mill, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is also a high proof Bourbon, and Stagg Jr could also be something to look into in this price range.

Links & Other Review

(ri)1 Rye Whiskey – Review #48

(ri)1 Background

(ri)1 Rye Whiskey(ri)1, or “rye one,” is touted as an ultra premium rye whiskey from Beam-Suntory. From the marketing materials, bottling presentation, and goofy name, I’d guess they’re going after high-end mixed drink market. It seems to hit the mark as it has a mass-market appeal of light, crisp, and refined flavors. Beam was one of a small handful of companies regularly producing rye whiskey before it became trendy again. As a result, it seems reasonable Beam would interesting in branching out their portfolio of products.

(ri)1 is aged a minimum of 4-5 years and that’s about all the info Beam provides.

Details

No Age Statement. Bottled at 46%. Thought to be about 51% rye. Paid $47

Aroma

Floral. Mint. caramel, cinnamon, charred oak. Spicy, but light.

Flavor

Evergreen, mint. Caramel and vanilla. Nuttiness what seems Beam yeast. Bubblegum. Nice sweetness. Spicy zip. Chocolate barrel char. Light in flavor. Mild astringency in the finish.

Overall

This is a pretty nice tasting rye. To me this seems subtle, but well put together. I could see this being better for sipping than mixing because of the subtleness, but (ri)1 certainly wouldn’t make an offensive cocktail. I’m not sure it would add a lot of character to a mixed cocktail, but it wouldn’t hurt anything. Like most lower percentage straight ryes, this shares some Bourbon character along with a good rye presence.

This is a more expensive rye. I’m not sure it’s worth the price, but among rye whiskies around 51% rye and this price range, I think I favor (ri)1. Overall I’m not really impressed with the rye whiskey near this price in terms of value. Maybe my opinions will change, but I think I’d rather just save a few bucks on a cheaper bottle of rye or spend the same money on a nice high-rye Bourbon. Still, if you dig rye whiskey, you’ll want to check it out.

Recommendation

Buy a Bottle – 3.0/5.0 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options and Further Research

Again I look at these as a 51%-range rye whiskey and try to compare it to similar whiskies near this price. Others would be Knob Creek Rye, and Russell’s Reserve Rye. They’re all pretty close to me with each having something I like. It could be a toss up, but I’d put (ri)1 at the top of the list, but certainly the others are worth checking out. I’d also suggest checking bottles in the lower price tier such as Wild Turkey 101 Rye, and Sazarac Rye.

Links & Other Reviews

Baker’s 7-Year-Old Bourbon- Review #38

Baker’s Background

Baker's Bourbon BottleBaker’s is named after Baker Beam who works at Jim Beam. On the family tree he’s the great grand-nephew of Jim Beam. This Bourbon was his creation and hence carries his name. It seems to use the Beam mash recipe and it says it uses a special “jug yeast.” I’m thinking this may be the standard Beam yeast and the jug is a reference to the fact Jim Beam used to take jug of yeast home with him every night. He did so because he wanted a backup in case something happened to the yeast at the plant. Perhaps it is a special yeast or perhaps it’s just the Beam special yeast. Either way, the flavor profile to me seem similar to the rest of the Beam products.

Baker’s has a 7 year age statement and is bottled at a generous 107-proof. It’s one of four products in Jim Beam’s “Small Batch” lineup which includes Baker’s, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek, and Booker’s.

Details

7 years old. Bottled at 107-proof. Mash bill of 73% corn, 13% rye, and 10% barley. Paid $47

Aroma

Nutty, peanuts. Caramel, Vanilla. Bready. Some Oak.

Flavor

Sweet and caramel. Some alcohol heat. Proof is a little high here, but still enjoyable. Nutty, biscuity, raisins, figs, dark fruit like. Burt sugars. Distinctly Beam

Overall

This is a rich flavorful pour with the distinct Beam profile. There’s a lot to like here with big flavors. Alcohol is  bit high on this, but I prefer it at full strength. A little water will dial down the alcohol, but I think it loses some of the thick richness. It’s got a great mouthfeel that’s worth keeping even if it means smaller sips.

As with Knob Creek, the Beam yeast thing can be polarizing. If it’s not your thing, you’ll probably enjoy something else.

Comparing this to Knob Creek, I think Baker’s is richer and deeper. A little more burt caramel flavors. Baker’s has an extra 7-proof in its favor, although Knob Creek has an extra couple years of age. Those are only two levers in building Bourbon. They’re both similar and if you like one, you’ll like the other. Baker’s cost me $11 more than Knob Creek and that might be a tough sell. While I enjoy both of these Bourbons and I’ve even ordered them at a bar a number of times, they’re not my preferred pour. I’d probably just opt buy Knob Creek and pocket the extra cash, but if you’re into Jim Beam products I think you’ll appreciate Baker’s enough to justify the price.

Recommendation

Buy a Bottle – 3.0 out of 5.0

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options and Further Research

I would probably suggest starting out at the mentioned Knob Creek. In this price range for a standard Bourbon, some other options to research would be Angel’s Envy, Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, and John J Bowman. Another options at this price could be a store bottle of Dickel 9 Year Barrel Selection.

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