Whisky Connosr
Shop Join

Old Grand Dad

Average score from 3 reviews and 9 ratings 80

Old Grand Dad

Product details

Shop for this

What next?

  • Add to cabinet
  • Add to wish list
Old Grand Dad

Old Grand-Dad is a bourbon that has been on the market since 1882 and moreover is dirt cheap. The brand was founded by Raymond B Hayden and he named it after is grand-dad Basil Hayden, another famous distiller from the late 19th century. Nowadays it is produced by Jim Beam in the gigantic distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. A bottle is less than 25 EUR. It stands out because of its high amount of rye in the mash bill. Bottlings are available at 40%, 43%, 50% and 57%. I will try the entry level version at 40%.

Honeysweet nose on caramel, tobacco leaves, pecan nuts, multi grain bread, orange peel, raw corn and the very present spiciness of rye.

The arrival is somewhat watery, but it is nicely fruity and spicy. Nuts return as dos the corn and a big dose of vanilla and cherries. Cinnamon and nutmeg are the loudest spices. The bread from the nose turns into a sugar loaf.

The finish is short to medium on cherries and orange marmalade.

Nice bourbon to drink neat, but it really shines in an Old Fashioned. Thanks for the sample, Pat!

I would highly recommend you try to get your hands on some of the BiB (50%) or, even better, the 114 (57%). Also inexpensive, they are excellent. The 114, which can be found for lass than $20US in the US, is tastier than a number of single malts I've tried that cost more than $100.


I know, I know - this is getting monotonous! But it's not my fault that Canada Day and Independence Day are three days apart. So now I gotta do a bunch of American whiskeys. Well, it's a hard knock life.

Old Grand-Dad is one of the standard bourbon brands under Beam Global (which not too long ago came into the LCBO, I believe for the first time). So who exactly is "Old Grand-Dad"? Basil Hayden - who already has his own bourbon, the greedy bastard.

The distillery was established in 1882 by Hayden's grandson, Colonel R.B. Hayden - though the original distillery is now closed. During Prohibition, it continued to be distilled by the American Medicinal Spirits Co. and was permitted to be prescribed as medicine. Production now takes place in the Jim Beam Clermont and Boston distilleries.

The colour is a medium amber. On the nose, lots of caramel and vanilla (creme brûlée), with herbs such as mint and, interestingly, basil. Rye spices such as cinnamon, cloves and cumin. Lots of oak enveloping everything. A classic bourbon profile though not overly distinctive. At 40%, water does nothing but dilute the nose and palate.

The palate is underwhelming - some toffee, spice, dark fruits and something medicinal that I can't quite put my finger on (by the way, I wrote that note before I researched its medicinal past!)

The finish is more interesting with woodsmoke, fruits such as cherries and dates, and paprika right at the end. Perfectly drinkable bourbon, and would make a good mixer, but there's really not much going on. In my research (and by research I mean five minutes on the Interwebs) I found it always referenced at 43% ABV. Perhaps they bottle it at 40% for export to Canada? If anyone knows the answer, please share!

Old Grand-Dad at 40%? Yes, that sounds like an export strength. Did you get this one from the LCBO? The typical US 'standard' Old Grand-Dad is, as you reference, at 43% and that one is still a little too thin for my taste. Not bad at 43%, just awfully weak for Big Flavours lovers. The 50% ABV Bottled in Bond OGD is quite a nice bourbon, and quite adequately flavoured...then there is OGD 114, that marvellous Best Buy of the bourbon world. 57% ABV of pure entertainment!

@SMC, Yes, thanks for the info. I hadn't seen the change in effect yet. Sad news, but then, absent the $ 0.99 minis of OGD 43% for re-use of the bottle, I never saw a reason to buy the OGD 43% (and now 40%) when the 114 and BIB are offered for sale at excellent prices. Hopefully LCBO will in future get you some 114 and 100 proof bottles. I expect that BIB in Buffalo probably runs $ 18,...a reasonable price even with 75% Ontario duties on the way back into Canada.


Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:

Nose: Although being a bourbon (thus made from at least 51% corn), Old Grand Dad is known for having a very high rye content, and that is immediately apparent on the nose. Deep notes of molten brown sugar and liquorice envelope your nose, and you can almost feel the tickle of jalapeno rye spice on your nostrils. Grounded aniseed and talcum powder waft through the air, slowly dissolving into a sweet grapefruit juice that runs underneath brown sugar and liquorice. A final note of worn leather completes this wonderfully complex nose. 2.0

Taste: A peculiar, almost vegetal quality to this light-bodied bourbon, with hints of broccoli and asparagus mixed in with your more typical shortbread and vanilla bourbon notes, while at the same time packing a very feathery rye-spice punch, perhaps even more of a playful rye slap. 2.0

Finish: A leathery intro to this more pronounced finish, with raspberry and vanilla waves swelling up behind it, before crashing onto the palate with a spicy pepper froth. These aren't however Pacific waves of great magnitude, more like pleasant ripples that one finds while walking the dog along a northern-european coastline. Equally picturesque, but perhaps not as breathtaking as some of its Pacific peers. 2.0

Balance: There is a sense that this Whiskey might be caught slightly between two worlds. It is neither a classically sumptuous Bourbon, nor is it a full-on, eye-watering, Rye-spice defibrillator. Yet while being neither, it is also a bit of both, and is thus a very intriguing fusion of a whiskey. Sometimes Bourbon doesn't need to be quite so indulgent, and sometimes Rye doesn't need to be such a heavy punch to the mouth. This is an all together softer approach to both, and benefits from a balanced marriage between each. I suppose this is a Grand-Dad that has gained a calm and subtle complexity in his later years, while nonetheless retaining a little sparkle in his faded yet unmistakeable rye smile. 2.5

For those who don't mind a non-settling "finish" but want to try some of the biggest flavors out there (with a big alcohol wallop), also try the Old Grand Dad 114. The three Old Grand Dad Bourbons, 86, 100, and 114 proof, are some of the best bargains for the money available.

@Victor: I've been wanting to try the 100 for a while, however in the inverse of the problem that you have with the Old Fitzgerald, it's impossible to find the other Old Grandad varieties here in the UK. I think a kentucky pilgrimage is going to be necessary in the not too distant future.

Popular Old Grand Dad whiskies