“Potent and heady...with flavors of oak, pears, apricots, and dark caramel” - F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal
Bottled-in-bond whiskeys have to consist of whiskey distilled entirely by one distiller at one American distillery in the same calendar year; they have to be aged at least four years under government supervision in secured federal buildings; and they have to be bottled at 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume).
Old Grand-Dad has been around since 1882, before your grand-dad was born. And for a long time it was about as cool to drink it as it was to watch Gramps try to twerk. But it's always sold well, and as of late it's getting a lot of love from bartenders, thanks no doubt in part to its high quality and bargain-basement price (around $21 for a 750 mL bottle). It's a high-rye bourbon (27% of this baby's mashbill is rye), which becomes obvious as soon as it hits the palate with a burst of peppery spice. Hold it on your tongue and it grows soft and buttery, with sweet hints of citrus and caramel coming to the fore. As is the case with most bottled-in-bonds, it's a big, heavy whiskey that settles in the mouth and lingers long after you swallow, with a long, warm and woody finish. There's also an 80-proof expression of OGD, but bonded is the version you need. It's worth noting that the old grand-dad for whom the whiskey was named is none other than Basil Hayden, whose namesake small batch bourbon is apparently the same recipe as Old Grand-Dad, only with more water added and more time spent in barrels.
Bottled-in-bond whiskeys have been around for almost 120 years, but today hardly anyone knows what the term means. You've probably glanced at them on the bottom shelves of your local liquor store; they're not usually in fancy packaging or crafted by hip little distilleries. But very few whiskeys get to be called bottled-in-bond, and the ones that do are very highly regarded by the whiskey cognescenti.
So what is bottled-in-bond, anyway? Throughout most of the 19th century, whiskey was generally purchased out of barrels at taverns, grocery stores, and pharmacies. It wasn't until 1870 that Old Forester (a brand that's still around today) became the first brand to put its bourbon in sealed glass bottles. And even then, there was no guarantee that what you were getting was real whiskey, rather than some sort of grain spirit with colorings and flavorings like iodine, tobacco, and turpentine added. Imbibers risked their health and even their lives with every drink.
Politicians, known for enjoying a nip or two themselves, stepped in and wrote the Bottled-in-Bond Act. The specifications were clear: bottled-in-bond whiskeys had to consist of whiskey distilled entirely by one distiller at one American distillery in the same calendar year; they had to be aged at least four years under government supervision in secured federal buildings; and they had to be bottled at 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume). Adding less water—and having to age the whiskey longer than most distillers in that era usually did—made booze-making significantly more expensive. But it also yielded a better product; the stuff distillers had been putting into whiskey made it look older, but certainly didn't make it taste better. Bottled-in-bond meant that buying whiskey was no longer a crapshoot—drinkers could look at the label and know what they were getting. And as whiskey got better in the years before Prohibition, its fanbase grew rapidly.Serious Eats
Old Grand Dad Bonded Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- Brand: Jim Beam
- Availability: In Stock
- Quantity Available: 11
- SKU #: 3966