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Old Grandad 114
Word on the street was that good ol' JB was considering discontinuing this popular and affordable high proof bourbon. Thankfully that didn't come to fruition. I picked this bottle up in Nashville for $24.99 + tax.
Bottle is 3/4 full and been opened about 2 weeks. Drinking neat first then adding a cap full of distilled water and comparing.
Nose Neat: Plenty of grain here. Rye first then corn. It's like if you took half a slice of rye bread and half a slice of southern corn bread, crushed it up with some spices and then snorted them together. After that a little chocolate/caramel/peanut butter sweetness comes to the party.
Palate neat: Nice and spicy on the back of the tongue (I'm assuming it's from the high rye content), but other than the spice, I get some pretty standard bourbon caramel sweetness. Rye spice pretty much steals the show here. Perhaps some water would settle it down and open it up a bit? Lets see...
Finish Neat: The finish is very long and some new buddies come to play. Specifically nuts! The finish is super nutty. Pecans, walnut and peanut, all seasoned with that rye spice. Really sticks in the mouth and is the most enjoyable part of this dram.
Nose w/water: A bit less rye and a bit more corn and sweetness. Spice is still there, but the added sweetness
Palate w/water: A bit less spice (but still plenty) and otherwise unchanged from neat.
Finish w/water: Again, less spice and more sweetness. The mellowed levels of spice make the nutty flavors slightly more discernible. Finish is still the star of the show.
Overall: This is a big, spicy bourbon with a lovely finish. As far as neat/with water, I guess it depends on your preference. I imagine people new to high proof bourbon or people who enjoy the lighter sherried scotch might be a little averse to the punch in the face from the high abv and spice. But, if you like that kind of thing then keep this neat. I feel like this has a good spot in the market. Not many decent high proof bourbons available for less than $30 that I'm aware of. And I guess the guys at Beam Suntory agreed with me as they decided to keep this one around a bit longer. Keep on kickin' OGD!