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Old Grand Dad vs Wild Turkey: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Old Grand Dad vs Wild Turkey in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Old Grand Dad

old-grand-dad-bourbon-whiskey
NoseVanilla, oak, rye spice
PalateRye spice, oak, corn, brown sugar, cinnamon
FinishShort-lived, moderately warm, oak spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toEvan Williams, Bonded, Basil Hayden’s

The nose is sweet at first, with a hint of vanilla, followed by wood and rye spice.

On the palate, Old Grand Dad slaps you with rye spice up-front. As you let it develop it provides oak, along a sweet corn note, brown sugar and cinnamon.

The finish dies fast, with some heat to it but not much. There is some oak astringency to it but nothing terrible.

Old Grand Dad is affordable and drinkable as it’s smooth, with very little warmth, although it feels thin and watered down lacking in body.

Easy to sip but nothing to write home about. Throw it with Coke and call it a day.

This bourbon was somewhat better when bottled at 86 proof as it had more body and flavor, but is now offered at a mere 80 proof and you can tell by how thin it feels.

This bourbon is quite similar to the Basil Hayden’s which is one of the most overrated bourbons but is offered at half the price so I’d rather pick this one,

There are a few facts worth knowing about Old Grand Dad:

  • It does not have an age statement.
  • The mash bill is 63% corn, 27% rye and 10% malted barley.
  • Old Grand Dad was founded in 1882 but it has changed ownership several times throughout its history.
  • The man on the label is Basil Hayden’s, the guy who came up with the idea of adding rye to the mash bill.
  • Old Grand Dad is crafted at the Jim Beam Distillery along Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, Booker’s among others.
  • The Distillery is owned by Suntory Holdings from Japan.

Wild Turkey Bourbon

wild-turkey-81
NoseCorn, vanilla, charred oak
PalateOak, corn, vanilla, rye spice, caramel
FinishMedium-length, vanilla, spice, oak
Alcohol content81 proof (40.5% ABV)
How to drinkCocktails
Similar toJim Beam, Jack Daniel’s

The nose is faint and sweet with notes of corn, vanilla and the charred oak present in every Wild Turkey offering.

On the palate, the Wild Turkey Bourbon feels sweet, is rich in corn, vanilla and caramel at first, followed by charred oak and rye spice.

The finish has a decent length, with a bit of bite, charred oak and lingering sweetness.

Wild Turkey is a good entry-level bourbon, mostly sweet, with some warmth to it, although it feels thin lacking in texture.

Good option for those looking for a mixer to make cheap cocktails.

Not a great sipper but becomes better when adding rocks as it loses some warmth and the charred oak spiciness.

There are better options within this brand so read my post: Discover the Best Wild Turkey Bourbon so you consider other bottles.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Wild Turkey 81:

  • The mash bill is comprised of 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% barley.
  • This bourbon is aged on average 6 to 8 years using new American oak barrels with an “alligator char” (char no. 4); this is the maximum degree of char.
  • This brand belongs to the Campari Group headquartered in Milan, Italy.

Old Grand Dad vs Wild Turkey 81: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPrice
Old Grand Dad$20
Wild Turkey Straight Bourbon$22

Old Grand Dad vs Wild Turkey 81: Which is better?

Old Grand is slightly better

  • Both whiskeys have the same flaws as they feel thin lacking in body, with some astringency coming from the oak and not much to talk about.
  • Personally, I prefer the Old Grand Dad by a nose over the Wild Turkey as I like the rye spice kick it provides that makes it a decent low-cost mixer.
  • The Wild Turkey feels warmer but has a rich charred oak note, so if you are fond of this particular note it makes a better option for you.

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