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Bottom-Shelf Brackets 2018: Round 1a: Old Grand-Dad Bonded vs. Old Overholt

Posted on by Eric Burke

Round 1a of the 2018 BourbonGuy.com Bottom Shelf Brackets features a pair of Old Guys from Beam Suntory. Number 1 seed Old Grand-Dad Bonded versus Number 4 seed Old Overholt Rye. There are a few similarities that make this an interesting matchup. Both are very old brands, dating back to the mid-1800s or before. Both were popular brands when owned by National Distillers and both were mostly neglected after they were sold to Beam before both recently received a renewed marketing push. Old Grand Dad got a packaging update and Old Overholt got a brand extension. Old Grand-Dad is a high rye bourbon and Old Overholt is a barely legal rye. And though it has no impact on the flavor, both feature the fanciful, grizzled visage of their namesake. 

Old Grand-Dad Bonded is a high-rye bourbon from Jim Beam. Since this is one of two bonded whiskeys in the competition, this 100 proofer gets one of the top seeds. This old guy is a frequent guest in the BourbonGuy household as we love a good value. 

Old Overholt is a barely-legal, 80 proof rye whiskey from Jim Beam. At only three years old, this gentle rye earns one of two number four seeds. And in a fun twist, is also the first-ever non-bourbon in the contest. 

These were tasted blind in the following order. My thoughts on each are from before the reveal.

Old Grand Dad Bonded

Purchase Info: $22.99 for a 1 L bottle at Blue Max Liquor, Burnsville, MN

Details: 50% ABV, non-age stated.

Produced by: Jim Beam

Nose: Dusty wood, cooked cereals, and honey.

Mouth: Follows the nose with cooked cereals and honey. Fairly dry. Nutmeg and cinnamon. 

Finish: Nice and warm. On the longer side of medium. Lingering baking spices.

Pre-Reveal Thoughts: Spicy and warm. This is tasty.

Old Overholt

Purchase Info: $12.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN.

Details: 40% ABV, 36 month age statement

Produced by: Jim Beam

Nose: Mint, ginger and citrus.

Mouth: Thin in the mouth with ginger and mint.

Finish: On the shorter side of medium with lingering dry, dusty grains.

Pre-Reveal Thoughts: This is a little bitter compared to the other one, though I much prefer the nose here. Unfortunately, the mouth disappointed compared to the nose.

Who wins?

One of these is gentle and thin with a fun nose. The other is a warm and spicy, yet kinda grainy whiskey. There are certain family similarities between these two that I had never noticed before. I found that fun and interesting. At the end of the day though, proof wins out and Old Grand-Dad is the winner. Based on this, I might have to go back and compare OGD Bonded to the Old Overholt Bonded on my own time. 


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