Old Grand-Dad Review

Old Grand-Dad Review

Old Grand-Dad was a distiller named Basil Hayden who made his name by distilling a bourbon whiskey made with a higher percentage of rye giving it a more robust and spicy flavor. The distillery he started (along with his recipe) was handed down from generation to generation and it was his grandson, a 3rd generation distiller who ended up naming the whiskey after his grandpa Old Grand-Dad. During prohibition the company who owned Old Grand-Dad made the whiskey as a “medicinal whiskey” that could be purchased with a doctor’s prescription keeping this delicious tipple alive, kicking and good for what ails ya.

One thing you’ll notice on the bottle of Old Grand-Dad is that it says, in very large letters, Bottled In Bond. What that means is that the whiskey was made during one distillation season (Jan – Dec) by one distiller at one distillery. But that’s not all. It must also be aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least 4 years and be bottled at 100 proof. The bottle’s label must also list the distillery it was created in and where it was bottled at (if different than the distillery). Most folks think it’s a relic of ye olden days, but I think it’s fantastic and really shows off the talent of the distiller who can’t rely on multi-distillation blending to get the flavor right but skill and experience alone.

Of all “The Olds” Old Grand-Dad is my favorite and also happens to be one of the whiskeys I believe doesn’t get the respect that it deserves. Next time you’re hosting a blind bourbon tasting add this to your line up. You’ll be surprised how many of your fellow whiskey snobs will tell you they like it but might have turned their nose up if they had known what it was. Just goes to show that you can’t judge a whiskey by it’s bright orange label.

If you have tried the Old Grand-Dad bourbon let me know what you think in the comments below.

Old Grand-Dad 100 Review

ABV: 50%
Price: $21
Distiller: Jim Beam

Nice golden honey hue.

There is an initial astringency that takes a second to blow off. Once it does there is a classic bourbon profile of caramel and vanilla that is paired with some honey, brown butter, and bruleed bananas. A very light fruit runs underneath the whole nose with a bit of fresh corn keeping it company.

The taste is where the Old Grand-Dad really shines. Caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, corn, nutmeg, and some pepper are the principle flavors. There are some very sweet dessert like qualities to this bourbon with candied nuts, cherries, and a hint of fruit. Adding water or ice enhances the caramel and vanilla while simultaneously bringing out some additional savory notes of brown butter and something that reminds me of sage.

It’s a little strong and numbing. I’ve had 100 proof whiskey that is a bit smoother (Wild Turkey 101), but it’s still incredibly drinkable. A splash of water will calm things down a bit without sacrificing any flavor so if you’re finding it a bit unruly give that a go.

Graham crackers and fruit that fades to barley.

SCORE: 84/100

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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53 Responses to Old Grand-Dad Review

    • Damn that’s a great deal on the 114. It’s $26 here and so I haven’t picked it up yet. But I do plan on picking up it, Basil Hayden and the regular 86 proof soon and doing a vertical tasting of it.

    • It is my favorite, since the first time I drank it and I looked out the windshield on a frosty January night ( nobody was driving, just homeless ) and saw how the moonlight twinkled over the urban landscape. It was not only delicious it made everything beautiful!

  1. I love OGD. Spicy. Long finish. Great value. 1 among 4 of my favorites…all others more expensive.

    I think of Knob Creek as OGD more aged and refined.

    Can’t connect the flavor with Basil Hayden which I find much lighter.

    • I like all of the ones you mentioned and I kind of remembered Basil Hayden being lighter as well, but in while. Though I just picked up a bottle to do an OGD side-by-side of OGD 80, BiB, 114 & Basil Hayden. Should be fun.

  2. I’m actually a big fan of the 86-proof OGD. My favorite bourbon – light, sweet and a little spicy. It is hard to find, though. Even the mega liquor store Total Wine doesn’t carry it. I have found a couple of retailers in my area that have it. More often they have the 100 proof, but that has a bit too much of a bite to me. It does mellow nicely with a small ice cube melting away in it, though.

    • Hey Scott,

      Thanks for the input. I just picked up an OGD 2 weekends ago and had to drive an hour away to get it, so I can relate to that! I haven’t opened it yet, but now that I have the 86, BiB, 114 & Basil Hayden all together expect to see an OGD faceoff soon. I may even have tracked down an old OGD from back in the National Distiller days to do a little old vs new side by side and compare it to the stuff from the “good old days”.

    • OGD 80 is almost always available at the TotalWine shops in Tucson, AZ. The 1.75L bottle retails for $18.99! I ALWAYS have a bottle at hand. I don’t like the bite of the BiB and I don’t think it’s due simply to the higher proof.

  3. We sure trying to find a Texas 5th with a rocker. Do they still make it – if so where can we get it. Any help you can give us we would appreciate it.

    William Gressen ii

  4. I have an old bottle from the mid 50’s. Orange label, was in a gold foil Christmas box with the plastic medallion of the old boy on it. I don’t know when it was opened (probably 50’s) but is about 2/3 gone and has been sitting on a shelf in the dark with the cork in it (in-tacked). Is it still good? Tastes like paint thinner – but the I like Kessler’s and Pendleton. What do you think?

    • Whiskey doesn’t expire, but it does oxidize and lose it’s flavor if left with a lot of oxygen in the bottle for years on end. Sounds to me like that’s what’s happened. So while technically speaking it’s “still good” it doesn’t surprise me that it tastes terrible. I’ve had whiskey that was the last glass or two that sat in a bottle for only a year and tasted awful, but started out really amazing.

      On a side note, I’ve had OGD from the 60’s out of sealed bottles and it was fantastic stuff, nothing like paint thinner. Definitely sounds like oxidization.


  5. I love this bourbon! Reminds me of Four Roses Small Batch which is my favorite, not as good but pretty close for half the price.

  6. Honestly think the OGD BiB is one of my favorite bourbons when factoring in price. Had the store order me some OGD 114 and wow, for 24 bucks what an amazing value! As bourbon increase in popularity so does my desire to search out bottles such as four roses yellow, small, and single, Elijah Craig 12, Weller 12, etc. there are so many good values out there today I fear their price will sadly escalate in the near future. Time to stock up!

  7. […] Old Grand-Dad was a distiller named Basil Hayden who made his name by distilling a bourbon whiskey made with a higher percentage of rye giving it a more robust and spicy flavor. The distillery he started (along with his recipe) was handed down from generation to generation and it was his grandson, a 3rd generation distiller who ended up naming the whiskey after his grandpa Old Grand-Dad. During prohibition the company who owned Old Grand-Dad made the whiskey as a “medicinal whiskey” that could be purchased with…..READ MORE […]

  8. You can count me as a staunch fan of Old Grand Dad. The high rye mashbill is what puts me in that camp. Why choose between a rye and a bourbon? Buy a bottle of Old Grand Dad and you’ve got the best of both worlds.

  9. OGD is a fantastic whiskey. It’s sold as a bottom shelf whiskey but deserves to have its place higher in the hierarchy!

  10. I agree that this is one of the most underrated bourbons around, and how I wish I could find Grand-Dad in here in Australia.

    When I lived in the US it was my go-to drink, even more so than Wild Turkey, which surprised my friends. Maybe it’s because I grew up around dedicated bourbon drinkers and GD was the drink of choice. Straight up with a splash of water and it’s a great, consistent companion. And one that I miss…

  11. I didn’t like OGD BIB when I was a newbie. But I recently had a bottle of OGD 114, and it’s the real deal. At $21/750ml, it’s a fine value that tastes like pricier pours. Thanks for re kindling my interest in this classic rendition.

  12. I went to my state store and picked up some Old Grand Dad 1.75 L 80 proof,
    the owner told me it would no longer be available. Is this true?

  13. I give your review a 100 – I have a bottle of it next to me, and followed the review as I was sipping it. Makes me appreciate it even more, thanks!

  14. I’ve been an OGD fan for 20 years and it’s still my go-to bourbon. Question though: Has anyone noticed a difference in taste of the 100 since they changed the labeling on the bottle? I have a bottle with the old label and one with the new and there is a distinct difference in flavor. Also sucks they stopped making the big bottle!

  15. I’ve been a big fan of OGD 100 for probably 35 yrs or longer. I can’t get used to the new recipe. Tastes heavier. I been finding the old one but it’s getting tough. It reminds me of what they did to Coca-Cola. I hope what I consider the original finds its way back. I’m going to miss it.

  16. Like you I drank OGD for many years – but when they dropped the 1.75 I found it costs almost twice as much per once in the smaller bottle.. I found Evan Williams to be a good replacement and a little less money!

  17. I tried this back in 2006 because I heard it in a Lynard Skynard song and I now know why they raised hell lol.It is full throttle kick you off your ass drink.

  18. I never can help myself….I have to have a sip as soon as it’s poured. You know…for science. Well, after a quick whiff from a Glencairn to check out the glorious aroma, anyway. I have to admit, I didn’t have high expectations after the initial nose and the first sip. I’m currently about 15 min in and it has improved immensely! I had to go back and look at your notes, but your mention of initial astringency is spot-on. Overall, I’d say this is a solid sipper if you have some patience. I might try my next pour with a couple drops of water.

  19. I agree that OGD is one of the most underrated bourbons around. Been my Bourbon and basically my only drink of choice since 1976, I love the BiB, the 114 proof is extremely hard to find here in OH and usually have to purchase it online. I was in a bar Louisville, KY last spring and they didn’t Stock any OGD and that’s Bourbon County! BTW, I purchased a bottle of Basil Hayden and agree, it is a much lighter tasting Bourbon.

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