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Jim Beam's Trojan Horse Bourbon Is One of the Best Values in Whiskey

The name and the branding are forgettable cliches; the whiskey is anything but.

grand dad

Welcome to Shelf Sleepers, our semi-regular guide to the best booze nobody is buying. This time: Old Grand-Dad 114, a relic of whiskey's past that tastes like a freak Jim Beam x Wild Turkey collab.

If you're playing bourbon branding bingo, Old Grand-Dad 114 covers the whole sheet. It's got an elderly white guy on the label, "Old" is in the name, it's got a cheap cork stopper when a screwcap would be better for everyone and it claims to be "the most unique bourbon you can buy" on the back label. Do not fall for it.

Old Grand-Dad 114 is not a tired brand revived to make its owner, Beam-Suntory, stacks of cash. Shoot, the brand was nearly discontinued in 2015, and it's not exactly dominated bourbon discussion at any point since. No, Old Grand-Dad is Trojan Horse bourbon; a hapless, harmless looking bottle of whiskey that, once opened, will throw hands.

Jim Beam keeps its mashbills proprietary, but it's widely accepted Old Grand-Dad's is high-rye — like, up to 30 percent rye, or about twice the rye content than most bourbons. This, combined with an assumed maturation period of 4 to 6 years and a thick 114 proofing, makes for a bourbon with serious firepower. It's the only Jim Beam acquisition brand of the last few decades to retain its pre-acquisition mashbill (others, like Old Crow, switched to standard Jim Beam distillate), too.

It's also available in most markets for $25 to $30. That price range is typified by nice, middle-proof bourbons with more ... down-the-middle flavor profiles. Old Grand-Dad 114 may take a boring form, but it makes the whiskey around its price point seem uninteresting and played out. Buy a bottle before Jim Beam wakes up, redesigns the bottle and bumps the price to $45.

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