The recipe of this remarkable bourbon dates back to 1796, when Basil Hayden himself was a master distiller. Hayden was born and raised in Maryland, where he learned to make whiskey from rye. When he came to Kentucky, Hayden began making whiskey from a base of corn, but added a higher percentage of rye than other distillers, resulting in a smooth, mild bourbon that was distinctly his own. This unique recipe calls for a larger percentage of small grains in the mash (rye and barley) and eight years gently resting in the wood. During the mashing and aging, the spicy flavor of the rye marries with the sweet smoothness of the corn for a character unlike any other bourbon.
The very pretty and pure orange/copper color is classic bourbon; the nose is full-throttle grain, sharply sweet-sour and woody with dashes of spice and caramel – I like this no-razzle-dazzle bouquet a lot; at palate entry, it begins rather meekly, then in an explosive mid-palate it bursts forward with biscuity, vanilla-wafer, and white chocolate tastes that capture the attention of the taste buds – riding a wave of manageable heat into the punchy aftertaste, Old Grandad mellows out in the throat; this is what premium bourbon is all about – direct, almost reckless whiskey enjoyment that’s a touch sweet, a bit warm, and appealing all the way home.