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Thread: Old Grand Dad

  1. #1
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    Old Grand Dad

    Can anybody point me to or elaborate upon the heritage of Old Grand Dad bourbon. I'm aware the distillery is owned by Beam etc and would like to know more. Old Grand Dad started my relationship with bourbon over 22 years ago but shortly later became near impossible to find here in Australia.

    Now I reckon thats Great Mate - woof!

  2. #2
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    Re: Old Grand Dad

    Old Grand-Dad is unusual in that its formula contains a very high percentage of rye, the traditional bourbon flavor grain. While rye makes up about 15 percent of the mash bill in a typical bourbon, it is closer to 30 percent in Old Grand-Dad. This, of course, gives Old Grand-Dad a unique flavor.

    The original Old Grand-Dad Distillery was built by R. B. Hayden and F. L. Ferriell at Hobbs Station, Kentucky, in 1882. Raymond Hayden was from a long line of distillers. His grandfather, Basil, immigrated from Maryland to Kentucky in 1796, settling in the Bardstown area like so many other Maryland Catholics of the time. The name "Old Grand-Dad" was chosen by Raymond to honor his grandfather, Basil. Raymond's mother, Polly, was of the whiskey-making Dant family.

    Philetus S. Barber, a wealthy furrier and stock breeder, entered the firm after Hayden's death in 1885. When Barber died in 1893 his son-in-law, Lou Baldwin, took over. In 1899, Barber sold out to the three Wathen brothers, John Bernard, Richard Nicholas (Nick) and Martin Athanasius (Nace).

    The Wathens were another old Kentucky whiskey family originally from Maryland. The Wathens operated a series of distilleries in the Lebanon area, then in Louisville. When they bought Old Grand-Dad they put the youngest brother, Nace, in charge. John Bernard, the oldest, also had two sons in the business.

    During Prohibition, the Wathens folded all of their distilling interests into a consolidation warehouse on the south side of Louisville, which eventually became American Medicinal Spirits. After Prohibition, the family sold AMS to National Distillers, which owned Old Grand-Dad until it was acquired by Jim Beam in 1987.

    The Hobbs Station plant never reopened after Prohibition. Instead, Old Grand-Dad was made at the K. Taylor Distilling Co. plant at Elkhorn Forks near Frankfort. That site had its own interesting history. The first distillery there was built in 1901. During Prohibition it was destroyed in a mysterious fire, probably set by the owner, which was fictionalized in Irvin Cobb's novel, Red Likker.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  3. #3
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    Re: Old Grand Dad

    Chuck - thanx

    However, does the Old Grand Dad of today still have a higher Rye content or is this merely a Jim Beam varient ? I have noticed significant differences from the Old Grand Dad of old and the newly acquired bottle or three.

    Now I reckon thats Great Mate - woof!

  4. #4
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    Re: Old Grand Dad

    <blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>

    However, does the Old Grand Dad of today still have a higher Rye content or is this merely a Jim Beam varient ? I have noticed significant differences from the Old Grand Dad of old and the newly acquired bottle or three.

    <hr></blockquote>

    There are some differences between pure National Distillers OGD and present-day Beam (rumored to be mixed with remaining National stock) OGD, but the rye content is not among those differences. I suspect you're getting 86 proof OGD, which doesn't do the brand justice. The BIB will quickly disabuse you of any notion that the rye content isn't significantly higher than any other currently produced bourbon. Glorious, underrated stuff, that OGD BIB.

    Stotz




  5. #5
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    Re: Old Grand Dad


    HERE HERE!

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Old Grand Dad

    Old Grand-Dad and its varients (i.e., Basil Haydens) are the only brands Beam makes that use a different mash bill and yeast. One assumes they have tried to match the formula as nearly as possible. Variations may come from the fact that it is being made in a different distillery by different people and whiskey is still as much art as science.

    I echo the sentiments about OGD BIB. That and OGD 117 are the OGD expressions you want to try.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  7. #7
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    Re: Old Grand Dad

    I started drinkin' Old Grand Dad over 22 years ago. It "was" wonderful stuff. Bottles purchased more recently have A: less quality based upon my recollections and B: a slightly different bottle shape and cap. Back in those days I was priviledged with both 86 and 100 proof varients. I am also aware that Old Grand Dad is now owned by Beam and 'apparently' continue with a higher rye mash bill to maintain the Old Grand Dad individuality. However, if this bourbon today is Beam with extra Rye in the mash it ain't gonna be Old Grand Dad, it'll be a new bourbon in Old Grand Dad bottles. I'm sure you can appreciate the importation of anything from the US to Australia with the dollar exchange rate coupled with shipping rates and lets not forget taxation (duty) so before I go to such lengths or ask others to do likewise, it'd be nice to know beyong doubt precisely whats in the bottle today. As previously stated, the last few bottles of Old Grand Dad I've found have tased very different to those I savoured years ago - Glenn

    Now I reckon thats Great Mate - woof!

  8. #8
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    Re: Old Grand Dad

    Glenn:

    > Bottles purchased more recently have A: less quality based upon my
    > recollections

    It's true recipes change over time, and while I don't know this to be the case with OGD, I suspect it's probably changed a little, but judging from the National-distilled OGD I've had, it hasn't changed a whole lot. But palates change too, and more frequently and dramatically than successful recipes. Lots of things I used to love I now find rather dull (i.e. Evan Williams 7 YO), and vice versa (I.W. Harper in all its guises). I suspect this may be the culprit in your case, as Beam would have little incentive to alter a very, very successful recipe like OGD.

    > and B: a slightly different bottle shape and cap.

    Heck, packaging changes all the time. The OGD's have been through at least three different packages just since being bought by Beam, never mind the National era.

    > Back in those days I was priviledged with both 86 and 100 proof varients.

    Am I to take this to mean you can't get the BIB in Australia? Well, at least you can get the Cougar as a consolation prize.

    > I'm sure you can appreciate the importation of anything from the US to
    > Australia with the dollar exchange rate coupled with shipping rates and lets
    > not forget taxation (duty) so before I go to such lengths or ask others to do
    > likewise, it'd be nice to know beyong doubt precisely whats in the bottle
    > today.

    Indeed I do, but I doubt you're going to find anyone willing to give up precise info on not only Beam's recipe but National's as well. Even if they did have the same recipe, still geography, maturation differences and many other factors could turn an identical recipe into a completely different bourbon. That's why they have staff able to blend and alter the whiskey to make it taste exactly as they want it, and those folks are awfully good at their jobs.

    > As previously stated, the last few bottles of Old Grand Dad I've found have
    > tased very different to those I savoured years ago.

    I do think it's worth giving the BIB a chance if you haven't already. Absolutely worth the cost of sending a bottle down there, with a few others thrown in to defray shipping costs per bottle, of course.

    Stotz




  9. #9
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    Re: Old Grand Dad

    Keep a stiff upper lip there mate - WOOF! I am reminded of Jerry Dalton's words on Chuck Cowdery's documentry "Made & Bottled in Kentucky". I'll paraphrase him as saying that it is the older experienced workers in the distillery that make the difference. They are "the keepers of the lore". As these men retire and/or die they cannot be replaced as simply as worn out gears in a machine. These are dedicated men that come to work everyday to make the best bourbon that they can. They do their best to be consistant. To do the same thing the same way every day. In that way we get to enjoy a consistantly high quality bourbon. Sadly the men that made the Old Grand Dad that you so fondly remember are most likley dead.

    We speak of mash bills: water, yeast, weather & warehouse conditions. The barrels and the wood therein. Yet we never speak of the hard working men. The men that pour out their lives into a batch of bourbon. Sure we remember Dr. Jmaes Crow & Oscar Pepper. We remember Basil Hyden: Jacob Beam, William Heavenhill & Elija Craig. But do we even know Jim: Bob, Luke, Matt, & John?
    I know these men very well. They are my neighbors. They work hard every day. They make my world and yours a far better place in which to live.

    Yes todays Old Grand Dad must be different than it was 22 years ago. Most of the men that make it are different.

    Unsatisfied with todays Old Grand Dad? Easy remedy. Sepend twice as much money and buy *BLANTON'S*! Buy as much as you can. For the men that make today's Blanton's will be dead also on some tommorrow. As will I.

    Life's too short to complain. Drink Up! Come to Bardstown & I'll buy ya a snort!



    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

 

 

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