The Old Grand-Dad 114 review
Company: Jim Beam
Vol: 57% ABV
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: 63% corn, 27% rye, 10% malted barley
Price: c £50 - £55
Old Grand-Dad 114 was the talk of the bourbon world in 2016 (well maybe not the world but it was definitely mentioned in our podcasts for about 6 consecutive episodes). Rumours were abound that it was to be discontinued, so we waited... and waited... and... well in the end all the rumours were unfounded and it stays - for now anyway. In the meantime we’re sure Jim Beam's unit sales of the bourbon went through the roof. Makes you think doesn't it?
114 is one of Jim Beam's 3 Old Grand-Dad high rye bourbon offerings all with similar mash-bills as the Jim Beam stalwart, Basil Hayden. This is the Daddy of all the Grand-Dads (not sure that makes any sense at all) with an ABV of 57%. The standard offering is 40% ABV (which we have reviewed previously) and there is also a hard to find (well in the UK anyway) Bottled in Bond 50% ABV. Talking of Bond, James Bond that is, Old Grand-Dad is mentioned in Ian Fleming's Live and Let Die novel as Bonds bourbon of choice in his Old Fashioned cocktail.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass
What we got – Sweet, powerful and very strong, lots of oak, caramel and Werthers Original aromas. So strong that it almost dulls the senses, dare we say it; it is too strong to pull out anything subtle.
What they say we should get - Rich and full the aroma is layered with notes of dark fruit, caramel heavy dark sweets, vanilla, bold spice, hay, oak and a syrupy sweet undertone.
What we got – Warm and so sweet, very dry with an explosion of oak and caramel. Well balanced which gives way on the tongue to a peppery spicy aftertaste.
What they say we should get – The flavour contains more facets than the aroma and, like the nose, is nice and rich. Oak, caramel heavy dark sweets and dark fruit give way to, and mix with, notes of leather, hay, pepper and baking spices. A feathery light bit of vanilla comes and goes like a flash in the distance.
What we got – Lengthy finish, dry, oaky, and full of spice.
What they say we should get – Long and oaky with bits of hay, chunks of caramel and a light drizzling of syrupy sweetness.
Sweet and strong but with tons of wonderful oak and caramel. An intense bourbon but so well balanced. For non-lovers of the high rye bourbons this is the perfect drink (those words actually came out of Mav’s mouth). The nose does hold it back a little bit as you usually want to embrace a fine bourbon on the nose before tasting, but this is just slightly overpowering. If we hear one more time that in the US this is available for less than $25, then we will both fly out there and buy every single bottle and bring them all back to the UK (maybe). You guys are so lucky, we are looking at paying at least double for this on the other side of the pond - but it's worth every penny.
7 out of 10 - Mav
8 out of 10 - Mr. Pie