Basil Hayden Senior - AKA "Old Grand Dad" and the "King of High Rye" is the inspiration for this classic, often overlooked brand from Beam. I love learning about the history of where these brands originated from. You may have turned your nose at another toasted release, or at the low proof of this bottle, but I'm here to find out if this is worth picking up! I hope you read on and make your own conclusions, as mine may not match your own.
Company on Label: James B. Beam
Whiskey Type: Finished Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed Percentages of Corn, Brown Rice and Barley
Further identification: 2021 release from Beam
Nose: Sweet corn forward. Starchy at first with dry earth, peanut brittle, and barbecue charcoal following. Really corn forward again - dust, malt and green shucks. Turning slightly chocolatey on a swirl, we finally move past the corn maze! Allspice, soft brown sugar and molasses now rise to the surface. Sweet caramel chews. Barbecue sauce. Light popcorn and traditional Beam funk. Time for a sip! After getting into it some lovely cinnamon and baking spice just surprised me. Rye grains, wheat pasta and tomato paste are also new additions. This glass is turning much more smoky later on. Fun aromas bounce off and out of the oak that's ever present on this one, coming off in tiny imperceptible flashes. Orange peel, angostura bitters and more oak now near the bottom of the glass.
Palate: Mellow and approachable from the first sip this comes forward with vanilla, sweet corn, caramel and a light nuttiness. Going in for another sip is surprisingly creamy for how dry the nose is. There are mellow layers that undulate softly throughout this sip. Faint plum, Reese's peanut butter cups (specifically the miniature size), and plenty of vanilla abound. The finish is slightly drying with creamy yet tart raisin, fig and a faint, level oak. As I get towards the bottom of the glass some faint metallics, herbal subtleties and a building bitter yet sweet mix of flavors that reminds me of an old fashioned. My last sip is sweet and enjoyable. It falls in line with the rest of the pour with corn kernel sweetness, vanilla, caramel and oak. It doesn't leave me all that excited, but satisfied and relaxed.
This feels to me like a very low speed pour. A great dram when you just want to sit and relax and not think about work... which I'm totally doing now that I mentioned it! If you didn't read all the above and think this 3 is a bad score, it's not! This is definitely on the high end of my 3 score... and no I don't want to use decimals! If you're on the fence about trying it, I say definitely do! If you like Beam products in general this fits the bill. I honestly didn't look at the proof until I went to put this into blog format, and I'm actually quite surprised at how flavorful this was for 80 proof.