As I mentioned yesterday, Jim Beam is famous, but they’re also famous for having bought some brands and making essentially the same whiskey under all those brand names. More or less all Jim Beam products come from one recipe, one mash bill. Just variations in age and proof.
In 1987 Jim Beam bought themselves National Distillers, and by doing that, they also acquired Old Grand-Dad. For all the Bourbons that were kept in production, all original recipes were changed to the ‘Jim Beam’ recipe. All but Old Grand-Dad. This recipe survived due to its uniqueness, and is the only other recipe that Jim Beam uses. This Old-Grand-Dad recipe uses a lot more of the, so-called, flavour or small grains i.e. rye and barley.
Old Grand-Dad came in two versions. One ‘normal’ version at 43% ABV and a “bottled in bond” version at 50%. What Jim Beam did is adding two more versions. First, Old Grand-Dad 114, aimed at a younger public who would ‘dig’ the high-proof, and Basil Hayden’s, which is aimed at the connoisseur and therefore put in their Small Batch Collection. So there you have it, for those who didn’t know it yet. Basil Hayden’s is Old Grand-Dad at 40% ABV. By trying any Jim Beam and Old Grand-Dad, you can get acquainted with both recipes Jim Beam uses.
Color: Copper Orange.
Nose: Clean and a bit light, lots of typical rye scents. Wet forest. Powdery and dusty. Again a Rye Whiskey that smells a bit like a Single Malt. Although it seems a bit closed (this is not from a freshly opened bottle), this smells really good, almost like a good men’s cologne.
Taste: Sweet and tick, spicy wood. Tarry and some coconut. Cloying texture. Full bodied and stunning balance. Not the ping-pong mentioned earlier, but this time the rounded out balance between sweet and the bite of the rye. Hints of red fruits, are they cherries? Its sweet and has hints of sourness and dryness from the wood, but that only adds to the balance. Wow, instant favorite of mine.
Excellent! No wonder that they couldn’t replace this recipe. This is very, very good. At least I like it a lot at this strength. Recommended. I haven’t tasted all of the “Small Batch Collection” yet, but I can’t imagine Jim Beam making anything better than this. Yeah I’m ‘younger public’ now! Another example of the water of life, that preserves youth.