Every bourbon drinker has at least a handful of bottles with a personal story behind them. The first bourbon you tried, your first rare bottle, that one you’ll never be able to drink again because of the night you had one too many. For me, Old Grand-Dad was always my go to drinking whiskey in college. It was cheap, easy to find, and didn’t suck quite as much as Jim Beam. I was known for keeping a pint in my trunk at all times for last minute “emergency” hangouts with friends. It wasn’t until I discovered the 114 proof expression that I realized there was more to appreciate about Old Grand-Dad.
Over the past year or so, there has been quite a bit of speculation that Beam Suntory would stop producing the 114 proof expression. The distillery briefly halted shipments to evaluate whether it made sense to continue production, and fortunately for high-proof bourbon lovers, they decided it did. Nevertheless, Old Grand-Dad 114 was difficult to find on shelves for the first half of 2017. Where you could find it, the scarcity was reflected in the price. For a while, you could expect to pay $30-35 pretty consistently although that has thankfully dropped a bit recently. My regular bourbon spot, The Rural Inn, has it pretty regularly for around $25, and this past week ran a special for $19.99…pretty hard to beat that!
- ABV: 57%, 114 Proof
- Age: NAS
- Company/Distillery: Beam Suntory, Jim Beam
- Mash Bill: 63% Corn, 27% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
- Price: $25-30
Nose: Caramel, Maple, Vanilla, Rye spiciness
Taste: Rye and Cinnamon spiciness, Citrus/Acidity, Brown Sugar, Toasted Oak
Finish: Long, spicy, just a hint of Caramel and Brown Sugar at the end
Overall: Old Grand-Dad 114 is a very upfront bourbon with a bit of a punch, there’s nothing shy about it. Although the strong alcohol presence might scare some drinkers off, there’s quite a bit of depth to the flavor profile to make up for it. I typically prefer most bourbons neat or with a few drops of water, but when I’m in the mood for something chilled this is my go-to on the rocks pour. The cutting spiciness makes this bourbon a likely hit for any Rye drinker with a good amount of sweetness to back it up. In an age of rising popularity of high-proof whiskeys, the budget-friendly selection doesn’t get much better than this. It’s well worth the $30 price tag you’ll likely see, and when you can find it for under $25 it’s a steal. Whether you’re looking for a budget bourbon, a high-proofer, or a rye-heavy bottle, Old Grand-Dad 114 will not let you down. Here’s to hoping Beam Suntory keeps it in the line up for many years to come!