Comments on gillmang`s review of Old Grand Dad

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Comments on gillmang`s review of Old Grand Dad

Unread postby forumadmin » Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:03 pm

This is an automatically created topic for discussion about gillmang's review of Old Grand Dad.
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Unread postby gillmang » Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:03 pm

I'm going to comment on my own review by suggesting that a dark chocolate or Demerara rum-like character seemed to characterise some bourbons of 20, 30, 50 and probably 100 years ago. I cite 1970's Seagram Benchmark, 1970's Beam's Choice (Doug Philips has one in a squarish bottle), the aforesaid 1930's super-aged Old Forester, Black Gold (an apparent retailer's label from 20-25 years ago marketed in eastern Kentucky, in coal country or it was then), as further examples. Of course not all bourbon was in this style but I think this was one of the super-premium iterations of the day. Tim Sousley has had more experience with 1940's-1960's bottlings than I and can probably add more examples.

I should add that 1970's Maker's Mark - a taste supplied again by the ever-generous Mike Veach - also qualifies for its rich chocolate or dark cocoa-like character.

Some quality bourbons carved out a different path, such as the peanut or maple-like S-W range of the day.

I think on average these chocolate/rum bourbons were older than their equivalent today but that alone can't explain this characteristic. Well-aged bourbons today don't taste like 1987 OG, for one thing. They can be good but don't seem to have the same depth and layering of flavours.

I recall now that we have discussed aspects of this before but with new older bottlings constantly being essayed and newer participants on the board a re-examination may not be out of order.

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Unread postby BuffaloBill » Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:36 pm

Interesting review: It motivated me to re-open a bottle of 100 proof BIB that I purchased early summer, and after several months with a little air at the top it has come together in a big way. It's ten times better than the day I opened it back in late June. This is really-really good! The flavors have come together and the texture smoothed out. Now I like this one better than the 86 version I drank a week ago - back when I wrote just the opposite. BB
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Re: Comments on gillmang`s review of Old Grand Dad

Unread postby TNbourbon » Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:48 pm

Well, I'm several months late here, but since you mentioned me by name, I'll chime in -- if only to credit your impeccable tastebuds!
When tasted at the 2006 Sampler, Gary signalled a special affinity toward a 1940/1948 W.L. Weller Special Reserve BIB I'd opened, which I'd found disappointingly ordinary. Fortunately, more than half the bottle came home with me, which I thoroughly enjoyed over the next few months. And, it was its chocolatey-ness which I found most endearing. It also appeared in a similar 8yo Weller BIB that Chuck Cowdery got the last taste from at last year's Sampler. His response? "Wow!"
In accordance with this thread, some time after opening, that same chocolate note was prominent in a 1953/1957 OGD BIB I opened at the 2007 Sampler as part of my 50th-birthday celebration (1957/2007). I've found it elsewhere in other contemporary bottlings to those mentioned.
So, yes, I concur with Gary that this is a profile defined in the Post-WWII years, whether by oak tree or grain bill (though it seems to affect both wheat and rye, which points to oak, doesn't it?).
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Re: Comments on gillmang`s review of Old Grand Dad

Unread postby gillmang » Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:15 am

Tim, thanks. Your notes brought back some fond memories! I think the wood must be the explanation, yes, and possibly the lower entry proof limit of that era: 110 proof with many bourbons probably being distilled and entered under that. There is, too, the possibility I think of the whiskeys oxidising in a way that does not occur today, possibly through sanitation not being as good then as now either with respect to the mashing and distilling processes or in the warehouses themselves. Once I read that a Canadian had kept barrels of Canadian whisky for a very long time. This was in the era when you could buy barrels for home storage. He said the whisky turned black with age. We know that some very old bourbon can darken but it does not usually get a very dark black. Once again mashing practices or yeast or some other factor may have contributed to the whiskey being liable to such changes. Nor is this a question of drinking bourbons that have changed in the bottle from the time first released. I recall that Benchmark in the 1980's was a very rich dark bourbon and when I tasted some at a SB function last year it tasted just as I recalled it. Here is another thing that proves it: Last year in Toronto I tasted two Cognacs from about 60 years ago, inherited from the host's late father. One was the blackish chocolately style, quite similar to some of the bourbons we are discussing, one was a much paler, fruitier example. So it wasn't changes in the bottle that accounted for the former.

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