Old Grand Dad 114
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.
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.