Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon Whiskey Review

Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon Whiskey Review

photo by Outsider

In John Steinbeck’s 1962 wanderlusting journal, Travels With Charley, the great American author noted how he offered to drop a “dollop of Old Grand-Dad” into the coffee of a new acquaintance. Of course, Steinbeck obliged, and the two strangers “drank some whisky together and had a nice visit.” Sounds like the best way to make new friends when you’re traveling the country.

If OGD was good enough for Steinbeck’s cross-country journey more than 60 years ago, it’s good enough for Outsider. Let’s get sipping on some Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon Whiskey.

At a Glance

  • Distillery: The Old Grand-Dad Distillery Co. (Beam Suntory)
  • Location: Clermont, KY
  • Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Age: 4 Years (minimum)
  • Mashbill: 63% corn, 27% rye, 10% malted barley
  • Proof: 100
  • MSRP: $24 (750 ml), $28 (liter)
  • Website
(photo by Outsider)

Old Grand-Dad Bonded: What We Say

Noselight ethanol, piney, cherry, Honey Grahams, rye spice
Palatemild tannins, cinnamon, honey, citrus, Red Vines
Finishmedium-long, leather, nutty, Honey Grahams
What You Can Expect to Pay$24-$30
Buy It: Now, Soon, Later, NeverSoon
Outsider Rating82/100

Old Grand-Dad’s nose (fun to read aloud) opens with light ethanol and some piney wood. A couple of deeper wafts reveal light cherry and a bit of baked honey sweetness, like delicious Honey Grahams. Rounding out the nose is some definite rye spice, which isn’t surprising, considering the high-rye mashbill. All in all, the nose is rather enjoyable.

On the palate, mild tannins immediately hit the tip of the tongue. It’s both shocking and refreshing, like jumping into a cold pool during summertime. But now that the tongue is immersed, the flavors really start to developed with cinnamon, honey, and citrus—both lemon and orange. A bit of chewing evokes more honey and a hint of Red Vines candy with its subtle cherry and faint licorice.

The medium-long finish caps the enjoyable sip with some earthiness in the forms of leather and raw nuts—or maybe edamame—and more of that Honey Grahams sweetness.

Well done, old-timer.

(photo by Outsider)

What Jim Beam Distilling Says About Old Grand-Dad

Basil Hayden Sr.—known as Old Grand-Dad to the generations that followed—made bourbon the way he wanted. He went against the traditional “grain” of the time and chose to distill his bourbon with a higher percentage of rye. This way of crafting bourbon was likely something he handed down to his son. And in turn, his grandson. That was Colonel R.B. Hayden who would justly name his bourbon after his Old Grand-Dad. The recipe today remains inspired by Basil’s original with complex flavors and an unmistakable spiciness. First bottled in 1882, very little has changed about it. And that’s the only way we’d have it.

Recommended Sip

Old Grand-Dad Bonded sips neat, no problems. An ice cube doesn’t bring anything notable to the table. Many of our recent Whiskey Reviews have been so caramel-forward on the palate, and OGD Bonded was really a welcome change of pace. This is a great bottle to keep in your arsenal. It’s so readily available, and so cheap. But, most importantly, it’s good. It’s perfect for sharing with friends—or strangers à la Steinbeck.

If You Like Old Grand-Dad Bonded, Try

(photo by Outsider)
  • Old Grand-Dad 114
  • Distillery: The Old Grand-Dad Distillery Co.
  • Location: Clermont, KY
  • Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Proof: 114
  • MSRP: $30

OGD 114 and OGD Bonded share many of the same flavors. But for a few bucks more, Old Grand-Dad 114 will give ya a hint of caramel creaminess. And, contrary to its higher proof, OGD 114 has less heat on the palate that its Bonded brother.