Whiskey Advocate recently ran a story on the history of Old Overholt. I encourage you to read it, as it is quite an interesting story of how Old Overholt went from one of the most highly respected American whiskey brands to a nearly forgotten bottom-shelf offering. Long story short (and not to discourage a read), the brand’s nineteenth century glory and family heritage died during Prohibition. The company would land in corporate hands, and eventually into National Distillers (a now defunct corporation that once owned brands like Old Grand-Dad and Old Taylor).
Post-Prohibition would see the conglomeration of many American whiskey companies and the death of many labels. Many of those were rye whiskeys, which were falling out of fashion. Old Overholt continued in production, but its source for about a thirty-year period is largely unknown. It is suspected that during this time that Old Overholt’s mash bill was changed to account for a higher corn content, which might explain some of my tasting notes below.
Beam acquired the brand from National Distillers in 1987. Since that time, Old Overholt has been bottled as an 80-proof rye, and the current age statement reads a mere 3 years (Beam dropped the four year age statement in around 2013 in favor of the 3 year product). Recently, Beam announced an expansion of the Old Overholt line, with a 100-proof, Bonded offering that would in some ways return the brand to its days of old, when Old Overholt was a bottled-in-bond product, 100 proof, at least 4 year rye whiskey.
Continue reading “Old Overholt Bonded and 80 Proof Review”
Many of you may have seen a familiar shaped bottle, in a familiar looking box, adorning the pages of Instagram, Facebook groups, or the web over the recent weeks. That bottle is Little Book, and it is packaged like – and shares many qualities with – Booker’s, the “uncut and unfiltered” small batch bourbon by Jim Beam. This newest product is a first release Little Book by Jim Beam, which too is a “uncut and unfiltered” and packaged identically (save label) to Bookers. It is a blended whiskey product, but batched (individualized blends) so that “each release of Little Book will be a different blend of spirits creating a one-of-a-kind taste.”
Continue reading “Little Book – Batch 1, “The Easy” Review”
Pop Quiz. Question 1: Name the man depicted on a bottle of Old Grand-Dad. Answer: Basil Hayden. Question 2: Have a pour of Basil Hayden’s and tell me the difference between it and Old Grand-Dad. Answer: $20. Ok, to be fair, $20 and maybe a year or two of age.
Continue reading “Four Grandfathers and a Guy Named Basil”
“Can you taste that Jim Beam funk?”
“This has that typical Buffalo Trace sweetness.”
These, and many more, are all statements that I hear when sampling the many different whiskey brands produced by the small handful of extremely large and diverse bourbon producers.
These statements have often caused me to wonder what, if any, definable characteristics makes each bourbon product line* unique. This post provides one man’s observations** of just that – six major bourbon distilleries and six basic descriptions of what to expect from each.
Click here to expand.
Continue reading “A Beginner’s Guide to Bourbon Brands”
”Should I Stay or Should I Go” is a 1980’s punk rock hit by the British band, The Clash. If you are not familiar with it, the song and video can be heard and seen here. Although released in 1980 with reasonable success internationally, the song didn’t reach #1 hit status in its home country until its re-release a decade after its original release. Much attention was given to the song’s lyrics and whether the band was signifying a potential breakup, something that would in fact transpire beginning the year following its release. Accordingly to band members, the song wasn’t actually about a potential breakup. Instead, “It was just a good rockin’ song.”
If there was one song to describe Old Grand-Dad 114, it would be “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” OGD114 was originally released in…1980. It too didn’t have immediate success, but later found a cult following as high-proof bourbons became more in fashion. And OGD is “good rockin’” bourbon (my quote, but work with me here).
Continue reading “Old Grand-Dad 114 – Should I Stay or Should I Go?”