Tag Archives: bottled-in-bond

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

Grand Traverse Cask Strength Rye Whiskey – Review

Grand Traverse Cask Strength Rye Whiskey Background

Grand Traverse Cask Strength Rye Whiskey
Grand Traverse Cask Strength Rye Whiskey

Grand Traverse Distillery is based out of Traverse City, Michigan where they have a couple tasting rooms. Currently they said they’re not retailing their whiskey widely since it’s in short supply, so you most likely need to visit the distillery or one of their tasting rooms. They make all their whiskey themselves and have been at it for about eight years.  They promote themselves as a farm to bottle operation sourcing all their grains/cereal from local farms.

Grand Traverse Distillery has three main whiskeys with Ole George, a 100% rye whiskey, a Bourbon made of 20% rye, and a Cherry whiskey which is their Bourbon with infused Michigan cherries.

Another Whiskey reviewed here is a limited release cask strength rye whiskey. It’s aged 6 years and made with 60% rye and 40% corn. Their first batch, which I’m told was actually a single barrel, is non-chill filtered and uncut 116-proof.
I tried Ole George, the Bourbon, and the Cask Strength Rye and came away buying this bottle as my favorite.

Details

No Age Statement. Bottled at 116-proof. 60% rye. $45 for 375-ml. 

Aroma

Minty. Pine needles. Baking spices, cloves. Vanilla. Cough syrup. Sawdust.

Taste

Minty, sawdust. Vanilla. Caramel. Sweetness. Graham crackers. A little cola. Lively. It has some heat. Some astringency in the finish.

Overall

Grand Traverse Cask Strength Rye Whiskey is pretty tasty with some of that raw rye and sawdust flavors I pick out on younger rye whiskey. I compared to some other barrel proof rye whiskeys with a 2-year-old and 4-year-old bottles from Willett Family Estate. I was hoping to get a nice reference point, but they’re actually all pretty different other than for being high proof rye whiskeys. Differences in age, recipes, and perhaps aging bring different things to the table. If I were to guess, I think I’d figure Grand Traverse Cask Strength Rye Whiskey tastes like younger than 6 years, which could be an interesting contrast in aging in northern Michigan vs closer to the Mason-Dixon line.

Grand Traverse Cask Strength Rye Whiskey brings spicy bold flavors that emphasize the rye. In the background, a sweetness comes in the finish for a pleasant sip.

It’s encouraging to see new distilleries’ product come to age and hold a lot of promise. Grand Traverse Cask Strength Rye Whiskey is a treat, but not a rye I’d regularly pull down off the shelf. Forget the fact there are only so many bottles out there to buy, the pricing makes this an exclusive bottle. The mentioned Willett is basically half the price for the volume, and there are a number of quality rye whiskies out there for even less, even though not barrel-proof. This is a challenge with new craft distillers doing interesting things on a different scale, but I think it’s still appropriate to not evaluate up-starts in a bubble from the rest of the industry.

Ultimately, my reviews are about quality and value. I’m told a second batch is in progress and I’d be curious to see Grand Traverse Cask Strength Rye Whiskey maybe at older age to take off some rougher edges, but then again that’s part of the character here. Still, Grand Traverse Cask Strength Rye Whiskey is a good whiskey in quality, however, with the pricing I’m going to go strictly by my scale and recommend making the trip to try a glass.

Recommendation

Try a Glass – 2.5 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.)

Links

Grand Traverse Distillery

 

Evan Williams White Label Bottled-in-Bond – Review

Evan Williams White Label Background

Evan Williams White Label
Evan Williams White Label

Evan Williams White Label is a part of the Evan Williams line from Heaven Hill Distillery. There are a number of Evan Williams bottling, but it seem the most popular are the 100-proof Bottled in Bond (AKA White label), 86-proof Black Label, 86.6-proof Evan Williams 1783, and an 86.6-proof Evan Williams Single Barrel.

I’m a fan of the Evan Williams Single Barrel which is available in yearly batches. Actually I dig Heaven Hill in general with a number of pretty great Bourbons for the money. With Evan Williams White Label we’ve got an exceptional value with a lower shelf Bourbon that drinks above its price tag.

Details

Bottled at 100-proof.  No age statement. Standard rye Bourbon thought to be 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. Paid $15.

Aroma

Corn mash/roasted corn. Nutty. Pecans. Caramel, charred wood. Sawdust.

Flavor

Similar to the nose. Big roasted corn, nutty. On the sweet side. A little alcohol heat and some zip. Some fruitiness. Rich, roasted flavors. Slight drying in the finish.

Overall

On its own Evan Williams White Label isn’t anything special, but factoring in price it becomes  more impressive. There’s a nuttiness that remind me of the Beam flavor profile, but not quite the same. Otherwise seems like typical Heaven Hill to me with full, rich, roasted flavors.

To me, the dominate flavor is corn and is a little hot and lively. Guessing it’s on the younger side. There’s no age statement, but being Bottled-in-Bond it must be at least four years old. The dominant cereal flavor to me is a off-putting, but the rest is just fine. Nice caramel, a little roasted nuts, and like I said, a lively Bourbon with just a little bite.

Price on this is pretty great. If you’re looking for a house mixer, it’s hard to beat this flavor and price. The 100-proof and youth should stand up well with a mixer. Also, if you’re on a budget, this will also do just fine for sipping.

Recommendation

Try a Glass – 2.0 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

Personally, I’d prefer Evan Williams Single Barrel with more mellow flavors, even though it also loses a bunch of character in the upgrade. A similar Henry McKenna 10 Year also from Heaven Hill is a good choice for retaining more of the woody-roasted depth with added mellowness.

A real good alternative, however, in the price range could be Old Ezra also made at Heaven Hill. Getting out to other standard rye Bourbons could be Wild Turkey 101.

Links & Other Reviews

Henry McKenna Single Barrel – Review

Henry McKenna Single Barrel Background

Henry McKenna Single BarrelHenry McKenna was a Kentucky farmer who began making whiskey in 1855. He brought his recipe with him when he emigrated from Ireland and after his death his sons continued the family distillery. Henry McKenna Single Barrel 10 Year Old is a tribute to Henry, but that is all. It’s made today by Heaven Hill as a bottled-in-bond product. In fact, Heaven Hill claims it’s the only “extra-aged” BIB single barrel Bourbon on the market. Bottled-in-bond means legally the Bourbon must come from a single distillery, in the same season, bottled at 100-proof, and aged in a federally supervised warehouse for at least four years.

This bottle here is actually the older design. The Bourbon itself is the same, but last year Heaven Hill updated the look of the packaging to be a little less arts and crafty. This is kind of weird look, but I suppose it might stand out on the shelf.  Either way, the new bottle looks like an improvement, but I won’t hold that against this whiskey.

Details

10 Years Old. Bottled at 100-proof. Mash of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. Paid $30

Aroma

Caramel. Toffee. Fruity. A little buttery and nutty. Smoky oak. Touch of perfume.

Flavor

Sweet and caramel. Cherry syrup. Vanilla, Roasted coffee. maple syrup, brown sugar.  Some hot cinnamon. Barrel char. Oak and astringency towards the finish. Nice flavors.

Overall

Henry McKenna Single Barrel is a nice flavorful Bourbon.  A lot of flavors here towards a rich sweet pour. It has nice barrel character that balances out the sweetness a bit, but still seems pretty sweet and refreshing. For me it’s also on the edge of some fruity fusel alcohol, but still good.

I compared Henry McKenna Single Barrel to Evan Williams Single Barrel, which seem pretty similar and both out of Heaven Hill. I think i prefer the Evan Williams 2003 better overall, but it’s close. Both are single barrel expressions and close to the same age, so I could see a little variation may flip the two. They’re both similarly priced, so I’d say just pick up which ever you can find or maybe one of each and just enjoy them both as they’re nice values. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced daily sipper, at 10 years old, 100 proof, and a single barrel bottle, Henry McKenna is a good bet.

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

We already covered Evan Williams Single Barrel. Some similar standard rye Bourbons around this price worth also checking out include Elijah Craig 12, Bowman Brothers, Russell’s Reserve 10, Elmer T Lee, Knob Creek Small Batch, and Woodford Reserve. As you can see there are a lot of options in this category near this price.

Links & Other Reviews

 

Colonel EH Taylor Jr Small Batch – Review

Colonel EH Taylor Jr Small Batch Background

Colonel EH Taylor Jr Small BatchColonel EH Taylor Jr Small Batch is second review from the Colonel EH Taylor Jr lineup. I previously reviewed Colonel EH Taylor Jr Barrel ProofColonel EH Taylor Jr Single Barrel and this is a similar expression of that except vatted from multiple barrels. Like the Single Barrel, this is Bottled in Bond meaning the whiskey is distilled from one plant during one season and aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least four years. Taylor was an advocate of government regulations on Bourbon and he is credited in helping to make the Bottled in Bond Act law in 1897. Taylor was also a pioneer in raising quality and standards for Bourbon, which makes sense why he pushed to establish quality standards in law.

This line is bottled by Buffalo Trace and the connection here is Taylor received financing from George T Stagg. Taylor fell in financial problems and Stagg foreclosed on his the O.F.C. Distillery. The properties would later become a part of today’s Buffalo Trace and the company is commemorating Taylor with this line of Bourbons.

Details

No Age Statement. Bottled at 50%. Buffalo Trace’s #1 Mash of about less than 10% rye. MSRP – $39.99 (2016 Price)

Aroma

Vanilla. Caramel. Green apples. Smells fruity, sweet, with a little wood.

Flavor

Oak barreled Apple cider, Sweet. Buttery. Caramel and vanilla comes through well. Some hot cinnamon and toffee, and burnt sugars in there. A little tartness in the finish with some drying astringency. Some water bring out more sweetness and cools off the hot cinnamon and spice.

Overall

I’m enjoying this bottle of Colonel EH Taylor Jr Small Batch, although I get a touch of nail polish remover that’s keeping me from really liking it. Like a lot of Buffalo Trace offerings, this is fruity with nice sweetness and typical bourbon caramel and vanilla characteristics. This has some nice complexity and a pleasant drinking low-rye Bourbon. Also, like the entire Colonel EH Taylor Jr line, this bottle comes with a very nice tube container giving it a classy touch.

The big question to me how Colonel EH Taylor Jr Small Batch stacks up against Colonel EH Taylor Jr Single Barrel? I find my bottles to be pretty similar. Small Batch seems a little sweeter while Single Barrel to me is a little better mouthfeel and a little more of that hot cinnamon. I prefer the Single Barrel, but I don’t think it’s worth an extra $20. Colonel EH Taylor Jr Small Batch is I think the best value. I’ll probably keep this one around.

Recommendation

Buy Again – 4.5/5.0 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

This is a low rye bourbon and it’s fairly unique category. Some similar alternatives in this price range would be Eagle Rare 10. It has the same mash bill as Colonel EH Taylor Jr Small Batch. As mentioned you could try the Colonel EH Taylor Jr Single Barrel for a chunk of change more, but I’d suggest starting out here. Elmer T Lee is a higher rye recipe, but similar I think. As is Bowman Brothers Small Batch and Russell’s Reserve 10. Those are some options that should help you out if you’re looking to do some alternatives to Colonel EH Taylor Jr Small Batch.

Links & Other Reviews