Here we are, already into the fifth inexpensive bourbon, marking the antepenultimate review in this series. The last time I had Old Grand Dad was at a friend's wedding in the Poconos, about 3 years ago. If I remeber correctly, it was the only whiskey the bar stocked. Needless to say, I have fond memories of it.
Old Grand Dad, with its distinctive bright orange label, is a Kentucky straight bourbon. It's currently produced by Jim Beam, and is said to be named after Basil Hayden. It's recipe dates back to before the Prohibition.
Neat: Old Grand Dad's nose is grainy, spicy, and woody. Lurking way in the background is some caramel sweetness. So far, so very, very good. The taste is rye at first, then a spicy crispness. The finish is all over the mouth and tongue, and is a permeating, strong burn that dissipates into an agreeable warmness. It's like getting slapped in the face, but it being an enjoyable experience you'd want to repeat. Old Grand Dad is brusque and tough. Wonderful.
Whiskey Sour: The sugar in the whiskey sour certainly sweetens the Old Grand Dad up, but its rye flavor is still alive and kicking. I find myself wishing that I was still drinking it neat, as I would a higher-priced bourbon. That isn't to say, however, that mixing it is bad. Rather, the mix was still in keeping with the character of Old Grand Dad neat: good and strong. Having said that, I do think I prefer it neat. I am going to see how it fares in a manattan. I think it has earned a spot on the varsity team.
I think we have a winner. I know there are still two more bourbons to go, but as of today, Old Grand Dad edges out Early Times. The back label on the bottle reads, "Since 1882, the unique marriage of body and flavor in Old Grand-Dad whiskey has been the standard by which all others are judged." I think this motto is justified, at least within the arena of bourbons under $12.99 a bottle. Well done.