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

Round 1a of the 2018 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. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, visit Thanks!