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  1. #1
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    Really Old Grand-Dad

    For our Bourbon Renewal Project this weekend, one of the contributors just informed me that he has a bottle of Old Grand-Dad he got from his ex-wife's grandmother. When he got it not too long ago it was still sealed, and he didn't notice how old it was until he opened it and looked at the tax stamp: Distilled in 1948, bottled in 1952. He's bringing this down as one of the 38 bourbons to be sampled, and I've been looking to find where this might have been distilled and have come up empty handed. Anyone know where this was distilled and how the recipe might differ from today's obviously different recipe?

    Ryan Stotz


  2. #2
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Really Old Grand-Dad

    Ryan I returned to your post because Henry has posed a question on yesterday's bourbon vs. today's. You never followed up. How was it? I know you like Old Grand Dad. Glenn says it just isn't the same as he remembers it to be. How did you find it to be?

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Really Old Grand-Dad

    It would have been distilled at the Old Grand-Dad Distillery on Elkhorn Creek in Frankfort, Kentucky. That is the old Kenner Taylor Distillery, which National Distillers bought after Prohibition and renamed Old Grand-Dad. Other National products were made there as well, including Old Overholt Rye. When Jim Beam took over National in 1987 they put up a Jim Beam sign, but most people still call it Old Grand-Dad. Beam doesn't operate the stills there but they do use the plant for aging and bottling. At one point, they were shuttling staff between their Clermont and Frankfort plants, which apparently was cheaper than moving the whiskey.

    According to Beam, they still make Old Grand-Dad using the same mashbill and yeast strain National was using, but the whiskey you have was made in a different still, which can make a difference even if everything else in the same. Actually, assuming age (that is, barrel age) and proof are matched, you might be surprised by how similar they taste.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Really Old Grand-Dad

    Some new information just came into my hands. I'm not sure how reliable it is. It comes from Whit Coyte, who after he retired from the phone company, undertook as a hobby the collection of data about every Kentucky distillery he could find. He worked on it until he died in 1987. Coyte's records are in the University of Louisville Archive. Sam Cecil was a friend of Coyte's and relied on Coyte's work extensively for his book.

    According to Coyte, National didn't buy the Kenner Taylor Distillery at Forks of Elkhorn until 1960. If that is true, I'm not sure where Old Grand-Dad was made until then. If I had to guess, I would say W.A. Gaines/Old Crow, in Woodford County, which came to National when it acquired American Medicinal Spirits, or the National plant on Payne St. in Louisville. The guy who bought that place and turned it into a complex of studios and offices (with only moderate success) told me that when they started clearing out the old fixtures they found empty Old Grand-Dad bottles hidden everywhere. Apparently, these were bottles employees had lifted, consumed and then hidden so they wouldn't get caught.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  5. #5
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    Re: Really Old Grand-Dad

    > According to Coyte, National didn't buy the Kenner Taylor Distillery at Forks
    > of Elkhorn until 1960. If that is true, I'm not sure where Old Grand-Dad was
    > made until then. If I had to guess, I would say W.A. Gaines/Old Crow, in
    > Woodford County, which came to National when it acquired American Medicinal
    > Spirits, or the National plant on Payne St. in Louisville.

    Had a Louisville address on it, though even back then that doesn't really tell us a whole lot. Thanks for the info.

    > The guy who bought
    > that place and turned it into a complex of studios and offices (with only
    > moderate success) told me that when they started clearing out the old
    > fixtures they found empty Old Grand-Dad bottles hidden everywhere.
    > Apparently, these were bottles employees had lifted, consumed and then hidden
    > so they wouldn't get caught.

    You know, if I'd worked there I can't say I wouldn't be sorely tempted to do the same.

    The '48 OGD, by the way, was excellent. Even in its unavoidably oxidized state, the high rye percentage was very, very obvious. Not really all that different from current OGD 100 left out overnight, really.

    Stotz



  6. #6
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    Re: Really Old Grand-Dad

    > Ryan I returned to your post because Henry has posed a question on
    > yesterday's bourbon vs. today's. You never followed up. How was it? I know
    > you like Old Grand Dad. Glenn says it just isn't the same as he remembers it
    > to be. How did you find it to be?

    I think I covered this above a little, but given that a true comparison would be impossible given the oxidation of the 1948 OGD sample, it tasted remarkably similar to OGD 100 that's been left out in a glass overnight. The full rye assault was obvious, and if anything it tasted a tad drier than the current OGD. It was excellent bourbon, and I wish I had some left for an extinct distillery tasting I'm tentatively planning for later this month.

    Stotz




  7. #7
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Really Old Grand-Dad

    Thanks for the intel Ryan. From reading your posts I know that you are knowlegable and have some really good taste buds going for you. Therefore when you say OGD is the same today as yesterday I'm happy to believe you.I love OGD 100 BIB and I want to believe that what I am drinking today is just the way the Haydens would want it to be.

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Really Old Grand-Dad

    The Louisville address probably does mean the distillery on Payne Street. Possibly it was closed when they bought K. Taylor. I don't know much about its distilling history, even though I know quite a bit about its later history (I've spent a lot of time on the property). I've asked Mike Veach what he knows.

    Too bad about the oxidation, but it is avoidable. If the seal is sound, little or no oxidation should occur even after many decades.

    --Chuck Cowdery

 

 

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