Owned and distilled by the Jim Beam company, Old Grand-Dad is named after famed distiller Basil Hayden. … Old Grand-Dad 114 is named, appropriately, for its 114 proof (57% ABV). This is not quite cask-strength, as they must water the whiskey down to hit a consistent 57% ABV, but it’s close. … Old Grand-Dad bourbons are purportedly from a “high rye” mash bill, despite a total lack of definitive information on the subject.
James E. Pepper, an historic brand established (purportedly) in 1780 but mothballed in 1958 was distilled at several sites in Kentucky, including the now-abandoned James E. Pepper distillery in Lexington, KY. In 2008 the rights to the brand were purchased by the Georgetown Trading Co., and re-launched using sourced whisky from various distilleries.
For Benromach’s Imperial Proof bottling, which is part of the distillery’s classic lineup, this same whisky is bottled at 57% ABV instead of 43%. This is 100° in British (or “Imperial”) proof. The sherry barrels are sourced from Bodegas Williams & Humbert in Jerez, and the whisky is bottled without added color or chill-filtration.
I got a batch of samples from Exclusive Malts’ new 2015 releases… These bottlings tend to go quickly and aren’t widely distributed to begin with, so if you’re interested in any of these… well, it may already be too late. Oops.
Now, I have a particular fondness for young rye that actually tastes like rye. I want big eucalyptus, wintergreen, or pine, and I want spicy ‘sharp’ notes of cinnamon, cardamom, and anise. Occasionally, some caraway (think rye bread) is nice too.
Distilled at Longmorn on the 22nd of June 1992, cask 86620 was bottled at 52.8% ABV 20 years later, in 2012, exclusively for K&L Wine Merchants by independent brand The Exclusive Malts. This particular cask was distilled ON MY BIRTHDAY when I was 10 years old!
For the price, this is eminently drinkable straight. Certainly it’s not going to win any awards, but with a pleasant lemon nose, nutty/cereal on the palate, and no “cheap blended” aspect in the finish, this is an easy value.
At once hectic and well-packaged, it demonstrates the intense concentration of flavor possible at cask strength while also showcasing the finer notes of damn fine pot-still Irish whiskey.
If you’re looking for a good solid Speysider without heavy-handed wine finishes or sherry aging, this one fits the bill, and isn’t overpriced. Also, if you’d like a gentle introduction to cask-strength whiskies, this one is a lot easier to handle for a first-timer than something like Aberlour abunad’h or a cask-strength from Islay.
A cinnamon bomb that never lets up. The nose is suggestive and deep, but it’s the palate that explodes with fruit and spice. Truly eyebrow-raising, this shows what quality can do to elevate the standard flavors of straight rye.