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Friday, November 23, 2012

NOT Single Malt Report: Triple American Taste Off

Hope everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving!  Let's do a quick-ish three part American Taste Off:  Old Grand-Dad Bottled in Bond, Old Forester, and Midnight Moon.  (Too bad I didn't have some Old Crow, Old Fitzgerald, or Old Weller!)

I'm drinking all three neat, no water, because I'm an Amurican.  I'm also drinking all three in Glencairn glasses because I'm a communist socialist terrorist.


Owner: Beam, Inc.
Brand: Old Grand-Dad
Distillery: Booker Noe Plant
Location: Boston, Kentucky
Mash Bill: High rye, 30% rye
Age: minimum 4 years
ABV: 50% ABV

This is the younger brother of the Basil Hayden's Straight Bourbon (6-8 years).  Same mash bill, same distillery, same company.  Different age, different ABV weight, different bottle, different label, different price.  Basil Hayden, the man, is the "old grand dad" from the label.  I picked up a flask-sized 200mL bottle of this bourbon during a great weekend in Idyllwild.

The color is straight up bourbon gold.  The dense nose is loaded with hazelnuts, tree bark, and hay.  There are some apple skins and Hershey's milk chocolate in there too.  The rye sits in the background.  The palate is full of honey and corn, but some more rye shows through.  There's some Robotussin, corn syrup, cherry syrup, and a light nuttiness.  Corn whiskey lasts the longest in the finish, leaving a sticky sweet residue, along with a hint of amaretto.

Of the two bourbons, I enjoyed this nose better.  It makes a decent Old Fashioned as well.  Otherwise, I don't forsee buying a 750mL of this one.

Availability - Most liquor stores
Pricing - $18-$25
Rating - 71


Owner: Brown-Forman Corporation
Brand: Old Forester
Distillery: Brown-Forman Distillery
Location: Shively, Kentucky
Mash Bill: 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley
Age: approx. 4 years
ABV: 43% ABV

It uses the same mash bill as Woodford Reserve (a bourbon I do not like).  Brown-Forman also makes Jack Daniel's and Early Times, two more products with unappealing flavors.  So, it's a good thing I had no idea that Old Forester comes courtesy of these folks.  And I happily found a 99 cent mini of it a few weeks back.

The color is a slightly darker browner gold than the Grand Dad.  The nose starts with new sneakers(!), paper, caramel, leather gloves, lots of caramel sauce, zero rye, and a touch of dried fruit.  The desserty palate holds milk chocolate, whipped cream, vanilla, and TONS of butterscotch.  It's sweet but dense and hardy.  Sadly the finish doesn't hold out.  It gets a little odd, very vegetal (celery, lettuce, and kale?) with lots of corn.

I really enjoyed the butterscotch in the palate, but it's too bad the finish goes weird.  While I'm in no hurry to drink this again, I wouldn't mind trying the 100 proof Forester.

Availability - Most liquor stores
Pricing - $13-$18
Rating - 72


Owner: Piedmont Distillers
Brand: Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon
Mash Bill: 100% corn
Age: 0 years old
ABV: 40% ABV

This is a triple-distilled grain (corn) spirit that is said to be sourced from NASCAR great Junior Johnson's family recipe.  Having had new makes of all sorts, I've never tried an officially bottled product claiming to be moonshine.

It's clear, thus no color.  The nose is vodka, but more sugary.  Some dry grains, hay, notebook paper, and nondescript vegetation.  The palate: vodka, probably from an upper shelf.  There's some granulated sugar in there.  Tapioca pudding.  The illusion of vanilla.  Not much of a finish.  A little sweet.  Vodka.

This is watered-down ethanol.  It is very similar to big label vodka, though one of the better ones.  More Grey Goose than Ketel One.  I've had quite some vodka in my time, more than you can possibly imagine.  And I never drank it for the flavor.

This was also another cheap mini that required a pair of pliers to open.

Then I spilled half of it on the floor.  And was not bummed about it in the least.

Availability - Most liquor stores
Pricing - $18-$22
Rating - This is not whiskey