Monday, October 8, 2007

Last Night's Tipple

Among a certain segment of Bourbon enthusiasts, there is an outsized reverence for "dusties," or bottles that have languished on liquor stores' shelves for years or decades, acquiring a nice, thick coat of dust in the process. This reverence is not simply born of nostalgia; it's actually quite logical. The years from the late '70s until the mid '90s were the Age of the Bourbon Glut. The demand for Bourbon collapsed in those years, and the distilleries failed to anticipate it. This meant that they had far too more aging whiskey than they could sell and that consequently their bottlings, regardless of any age statements on the labels, got older and older and older. The glut is over, and the whiskey in, say a bottle of Old Grand-Dad Bottled in Bond bottled today is probably a lot closer to four years old than a bottle from, say, 1985. There have been other changes, too, namely the fact that the proof at which Bourbon enters barrels today is probably about 10 degrees higher than it was twenty or thirty years ago, which means that more dilution is necessary to get the aged Bourbon down to bottling proof today than in the past. Whatever the reasons, a bottle of NDOGD (that's National Distillers Old Grand-Dad for those of you who are uninitiated, National Distillers being the owner of the OGD brand until Beam bought the company in 1987) is supposed to be sublime. I'd very much like to find out for myself.

Modern OGD isn't bad either. The cinnamon-flavored rye kick in it is unique and very pleasant.

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