After last week’s extravagance in the form of Booker’s, I’m toning things down this week with a bottle of Old Grand-Dad.
OGD is an interesting case and charming in its peculiar qualities – or lack thereof. The first thing one notices when looking at a bottle of OGD is the jarringly orange label with green and gold type. Perhaps it’s meant to blend with the orange-hued spirit, perhaps there is some long held brand tradition, or perhaps it’s the simple fact that it’s a hell of a lot easier to pick out an orange label among the almost uniformly earth-toned bourbon shelf.
There are a few elements of the OGD packaging that distinguish it beyond the color scheme. First to note is the fact that the company makes sure their drinker knows that this is a bonded whiskey. While this is surely not the only bottled-in-bond variety of bourbon available, OGD seems to be the proudest of this point. For a bourbon to be “bottled in bond” it means that the whiskey must be the product of one distillation season, one distiller, and one distillery, while being sold at 100 proof and having aged at least four years.
OGD’s proclamation of their bonded status makes sense when looking at the other details of the bottle. At the bottom of the label is the sentence, “Bottled in bond under supervision of U.S. gov’t,” and surrounding the central portrait (presumably of Basil Hayden?) are the words “Registered U.S. Pat. Off.” Both these details are oddly prominent on a modern bourbon bottle – and very likely not necessary, despite their official tone. Instead, they likely are placed as they are to hark back to an age when they were necessary to verify the authenticity of the product.
It is this type of bureaucratic nostalgia, combined with the garish orange, which gives OGD its awkward charm.
Old Grand-Dad is nothing if not straight-forward, through and through. To the nose it is quite medicinal with notes of oak and vanilla. You can tell that this is 100 proof right away.
On the palate OGD is simply a classic bourbon: corn sweetness, caramel, and oak are the dominant sensations with a lingering finish of charred oak. It’s tough to find too many more ways to describe it, but that seems to be the point of OGD, it is simply bourbon as it should be – no frills but no cut corners.
At $18/bottle, Old Grand-Dad is a good choice for an every-day bourbon. You can certainly do better than it, but there’s definitely a lot worse out there and probably for more dough.