When R.B. Hayden decided to distill a Bourbon he wanted to make it to the same quality as his Grand Dad, Basil Hayden. In the late 1890s the brand was acquired by the Wathen family who later sold the brand to National Distillers during prohibition. In the mid-1980s Jim Beam acquired the brand when they purchased National Distillers. Old Grand Dad is often called a “high rye” Bourbon. At about 27% rye I think it deserves that label. Jim Beam has done a good job in keeping the old flavor profile close to what is was. There has been some drift but you can taste many of the old elements in the flavor profile.
Old Grand Dad Bonded
Nose: Vanilla and citrus with a hint of berries or cherries – maybe dates. A little leather and tobacco with some sweet spice and oak.
Taste: Corn and vanilla with orange peel and cinnamon and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry really brings out the caramel and berries but lessons the spice notes. Tasted with a pecan really brings forward the corn and spice.
Finish: The oak quickly becomes a little peppery in a good way and lasts a long time. A cranberry makes the finish more oak and no pepper. A pecan makes the pepper prominent in the finish.
Notes: I have always liked this Bourbon. It is very affordable and very nice neat or in a Manhattan. I also like a good cigar with it but not anything with too dark of a wrapper. I am enjoying 7-20-4 Hustler with it and it really compliments the smoke making it a bit spicy in a good way. The smoke is bringing out the citrus in the Bourbon.
Photos Courtesy of Michael Veach