Bourbon Reviews

Old Grand Dad Bourbon



Share on Pinterest

Old Grand Dad by Brown Foreman Distillery is an inexpensive bourbon available for $12.00-$20.00.  The recipe is said to date back to 1840, possibly even earlier (the label says “Since 1882” though).  It has been passed from distillery to distillery over the subsequent years, and currently is the property of Jim Beam.  There are several different versions of Old Grand Dad in existence including a 100 proof version, a 114 proof version, and this 86 proof version which I purchased for $20.00.
This bourbon has a golden color and looks pretty smooth just from the visual angle; when I take my first whiff I smell caramel, tobacco, pecan and some kind of fruit, though it’s hard to distinguish what it might be.  There is also a strong oak vibe which is obvious from the aroma.  I think this bottle is aged only 4 to 6 years, though I’m not sure of the precise amount of aging.

The tasting notes are mostly rye and oak, though there is a sweet edge provided by the vanilla and caramel.  This stuff will warm you up for sure; it tastes strongly alcoholic with a pronounced burn.  It isn’t very sweet overall, more astringent and dry.  The lack of complexity could be due in part to how young this particular vintage is, but I suspect that the simplicity has always been part of this bourbon’s appeal.  That has probably contributed to what has made it a mainstay for over a century—its simplicity has given it consistency from year to year.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the recipe has changed little with time.

I wouldn’t drink this stuff straight up, if simply because I tend to lean toward more complex bourbons with more going on.  This one is very simple and unsophisticated, and not quite as smooth as I’d necessarily like.  I have tried mixing it into other drinks and it adds something, but not necessarily a lot, and again, it would seem best to choose something more sophisticated for anything really special.  If you’re on a budget, this could be a good bourbon to buy for simple mixing (especially at the lower end of the price range), but it isn’t something that really calls to me otherwise.  If simple and dry is your thing though, you could enjoy this.

Color:  Golden.

Nose:  Caramel, tobacco, pecan, fruit, oak.

Taste:  Rye, oak, vanilla, caramel, astringent with a strong burn.

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: USA & World (click), UK & Europe (click)

About Ryan

My name is Ryan, and I joined Martin to share my passion about bourbon. I live in America, but enjoy traveling as much as possible, especially to visit bourbon distilleries (of course!). Not only do I enjoy bourbon, but I also love whisky, wine and premium cigars.

Recommended for you


  1. Michael Chan

    December 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    The 86 proof isn’t too great, but the 100 Proof- Bottled in Bond is fantastic, for not much more!

  2. Barlee

    March 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I have yet to try the 100 + 114 proof. I have an 86, which is fine for what it is- a bargain bourbon. Not bad. I put it there along with Ezra Brooks, Old Forester, etc. as a decent mixing whiskey. We get it (them) here for about $14. I am anxious to try the higher proofed OGD.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply