This is a review of a sample generously provided to me by @Nozinan
The bottle was opened Nov 8/2017 and the sample was poured the same day.
Coming to Connosr has been an amazing journey of discovery for me. I’ve always liked bourbon/American Whiskey, but I used to rotate between Jim Beam White Label, Jack Daniel’s Old No.7 and Bulleit without really giving it much thought. Times have changed. I don’t know anything about OGD 114 other than the fact that @Nozinan told me to try it and gifted me a sample. So this is about as close to a blind tasting as it gets for me.
- Nose (undiluted): very fruity at first, cherry blossoms, a bit of vanilla and brown sugar (though much less than I expect from a bourbon) developing to oak tannins and rye spice in the background, maybe just a hint of mint at the tail end. There is very little alcohol prickle on the nose. I would never have guessed this was bottled at 57% ABV. As this sits in the glass, a slightly vegetal note appears in the background. Dried leaves, perhaps. This is a terrific nose.
- Palate (undiluted): WOW !!! There’s that 57% ABV ! Very hot arrival, though not unpleasant at all. It isn’t “spiky” (like a hoppy beer) as much as it delivers a big, bold and warming wallop. Lots more cherries. Sour cherries, with a bit of vanilla frosting. The rye spice is present, but it isn’t the star of this show at all.
- Finish: medium-long with some toffee notes popping through and the Oak tannins returning. There’s a slight tobacco/leather note peeking through at the very end of the finish.
Adding water pushed the fruity notes way back. Fresh corn (still a little green) pops out of the glass. The nose actually seems to be “hotter” with the addition of water. Oak and tobacco notes next. The cherries are still there, but they’ve been pushed way back. Given some time to rest (5 minutes or so), the fruit comes back, but doesn’t dominate the way it did at full strength. The arrival on the palate is more typically bourbon-esque with water. Toffee, vanilla and oak notes dominate with the fresh corn next and that lovely fruity note pushed way back. After some resting time, the fruity flavours really feel like they’re getting muted, relatively speaking. With water, the finish becomes far more vegetal (fresh tobacco and Corn stalks?) though not much shorter. I still prefer this one at full strength.
This is a surprise for me. I have no idea what this costs, but it is excellent. I would not hesitate to purchase a bottle of OGD 114.
@OdysseusUnbound, thank you for your review. I am always glad when people like Old Grand-Dad 114. I liked it so much I made it my very first Connosr review.
The Old Grand-Dad was Basil Hayden, who was famous for adding rye to Kentucky corn whiskey, creating bourbon. Basil Hayden distilled starting in 1792. His grandson, distiller Raymond Hayden, named his Old Grand-Dad line of bourbons after his grandfather, starting in 1840. Old Grand-Dad was acquired by Fortune Brands/Beam Inc. in 1987.
I have never yet tasted any Old Grand-Dad bourbon from before the Beam era. I would like to. Beam never seems to do any advertising of the Old Grand-Dad line, but it keeps chugging away. The Old Grand-Dad Bottled in Bond 100 proof is a staple and a consistently good seller. The 114 proof was threatened with discontinuation about a year ago, but was given a reprieve.