Old Grand Dad 114

OGD114Opened: December 11, 2012
114 proof (57% ABV)
Price: $24.99
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Producer-distiller: Beam
Tasting Date: January 28, 2013

Color in glencairn glass: Burnt orange creamsicle.

Nose: Hot, somewhat smoky vanilla, brief caramel that ends in a tight varnish, orange soda dosed with vanilla. There’s a bit of a burnt alcohol quality that is not unpleasant.

Taste: Sweet, easy going entry leads to some sticky vanilla orange on the palate and a sugary finish with orange rind and soft potpourri spices. There’s a bit of a burnt caramel that comes on towards the finish and lingers in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is full and oily while remaining dry and crispy. The finish has legs because of the alcohol content here, and while this is not any kind of complex bourbon to mull over, it is a soft, tasty powerhouse that offers no off notes and leaves nothing on the table.

Value: $31/$25

This is a great bourbon to toss back easily without over thinking. It packs a punch and demands very little while offering full, clean flavor in a high proof package. It is the only Beam product I drink at all, let alone keep stocked in my bar. I don’t know how, among a portfolio full of bland, off tasting and overpriced offerings, Beam offers us such a tasty product at such a high proof, but I’m not about to ask them and risk screwing up a good thing.

We know that the three OGD labels (114, Bottled in Bond (BiB), 86 proof) use a higher percentage of rye in their mash than standard Jim Beam white (JBW), Booker’s, Baker’s, Knob Creek, etc. Basil Hayden (BH) is also a member of this high rye bourbon mash family. In addition, there is knowledge out on the internet coming from a reliable source (Mr. Chuck Cowdery), that OGD114 is set apart from other Beam products during distillation in that it comes off the still at 127°. This is based on information that is said to have been accurate in 2008. JBW comes off the still at 135°, Knob Creek at 130°, and Booker’s and Baker’s come off at 125°. OGD BiB and OGD86 are supposedly distilled to the same proof as JBW, but Basil Hayden and OGD114 share the distinction of being distilled to 127° and watered down to 125° for barreling, which is the barreling proof for all Beam bourbons.

Apparently, the lower the proof that a spirit comes off the still, the more it retains the flavor from the grain, yeast etc. So, perhaps this accounts for the uncharacteristically pleasing profile of OGD114. I tasted Basil Hayden recently, and let’s just say that 34 proof points does a lot for flavor on a palate like my own that is used to chomping on higher proof/barrel proof whiskeys. OGD114 is one of the best values on the shelf today.

~ by WhiskeyWonka on March 4, 2013.

10 Responses to “Old Grand Dad 114”

  1. Maybe I’ll have to re-try the 114 OGD. The ONLY bottle of it I’ve ever tasted (I bought in late 2011, I think) was uninspiring. ….And was almost completely lacking in nose quality. Your experience refutes all that I got from my bottle; which was just sweet-heat.

    • I only discovered OGD114 last year, so I can’t really comment on batch variation from personal experience. I have, however, read about variability from other drinkers of the stuff. I’ve gone through a number of bottles over the last year, and they’ve all been consistently good, so I’d encourage you to give it another try!

  2. Beam supposedly also used a distinct yeast strain for OGD (all offerings), but I’m convinced that they switched their yeast in the past year or two. Have you noticed that in 2011 or 2012 the BiB caps went from orange to black? I compared bottles and the whiskey in the black-capped bottle tasted horrible to me, all Beam yeast with nothing else going on on the palate. The stuff in the orange-capped bottle was butterscotch and a bit of rye kick. These were done side-by-side, so it isn’t memory playing tricks on me.

    I just bought a 2012 bottle of OGD114 and it’s all Beam yeast, as well. It makes me so, so sad.

    • Interesting that you bring this up, Ben. I was just reading a post on SB.com where Chuck Cowdery mentions that Beam does not use their house yeast for the OGD line (including Basil Hayden), but rather uses the same yeast National Distillers used in the brand since [presumably] the repeal of prohibition. It’s possible that this has changed, but I haven’t seen or tasted any evidence of it. All of the Beam-made OGD114 I’ve had has been from 2012, and I get none of the trademark Beam yeastiness you find in their other products. I have not paid attention to the change in cap color on OGD BiB. I drank a bottle a year or two ago and, again, noticed the absence of the Beam stamp.

      • Is your OGD114 stamped with a 12 on the bottom? I expect that you looked and confirmed already, but I thought I’d just cover the bases. I’ve also read some of Chuck’s posts, including one where he said the 114 is a bit older than the others. The one I got is brand-spanking-new. Perhaps the new stuff is only now making its way into 114 bottles.

        Or perhaps I’m crazy. The youngest OGD BiB bottle I’ve had is from 2006, and the others are quite a bit older. They all had the same profile, but I don’t know if the switch I perceive happened with the cap change or maybe earlier. If you ever try an older BiB along with the new stuff, you can tell me if I’m off my rocker!

      • I hadn’t looked until you suggested it, but my current bottle has an 8 on the bottom, not a 12. I don’t usually look on the bottom of the bottle to date current releases. I would be very surprised if the 8 referred to being bottled in 2008; I bought this bottle from a store that gets plenty of business on a daily basis. It’s always possible that older stock was forgotten in a corner, found and put on the shelf, but like I said, I’ve had a handful of OGD114 over the last year that have all tasted roughly the same.

  3. My bottle has a 12 on the bottom, but I know what you mean about current bottle dating issues. Have you seen Sku’s new review on lawhiskeysociety.com? That’s pretty close to the crappy taste I get. I interpret it as Beam yeast with a different mash bill, but his is a better set of descriptors.

  4. Here’s a review (not mine) of what I assume is the current OGD BiB offering. In it, the prevalence of Beam yeast notes is noted as being pretty damn strong. I believe with nearly 100% confidence that the profile has changed in the past several years and that the yeast is a big part of that.

    http://whiskeyobsessive.blogspot.com/2013/03/beam-bourbons-part-1-old-grand-dad.html

    I just bought an OGD BiB from 2011 (or at least it had “11” on the bottom of the bottle) and it tasted like a mix of the old and new profiles, different enough from the 2012 but little like the 2006 and 2001 (with appropriate caveats regarding bottling dates).

  5. I am no maven of Bourbon, but I’ve always enjoyed it. I obtained a bottle of OGD 114 from my Father-in-law’s estate. He’s drunk nothing for 20 years.
    What I see on the bottle bottom is 12-2-82. There is a lot # 12 on the back label. It was in a hinged tin Christmas box. I opened it last night to toast a friend on his birthday. I have never drunk a better bourbon. Ever. I would normally drink Woodford Reserve and Old Charter 10 yr. old , with a couple more when found. If the new OGD 114 is anything like this, I’ve found a new go-to Bourbon.

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