Jim Beam’s Old Overholt lineup saw a major refresh back in 2020, along with the introduction of two limited editions available, at the time, only in Ohio and Pennsylvania: an 11-year-old offering (that still eludes us) and this bottle, Old Overholt 114 Proof. The release was in celebration of the 210th anniversary of Abraham Overholt’s first rye distillation in western Pennsylvania way, way back in 1810. According to Jim Beam, the higher proof is “historically rooted in a traditional maturation barrel strength of the time.” In 2021, this high octane Old Overholt saw national release, so rye drinkers across the country can now add this one to their home bars. Like the Bottled-in-Bond, it has been aged four years and bottled without chill filtration. Let see what the extra oomph does for this classic.
The nose is not far removed from the latest bottled-in-bond expression, showing a burly intensity with sharp notes of furniture polish, raw leather, and split wood. There’s an ample layer of grassiness, too, almost golden straw, that offers a dry and earthy edge. A subtle vanilla bean sweetness develops with time in the glass and softens some of those edges with a bit of marshmallow fluff. The palate is surprisingly approachable for the proof with a generous sweetness that evokes notes of Samoa cookies and vanilla fudge. A savory brown butter quality, present across the entire Old Overholt line, adds a complementing richness. The higher abv doesn’t really show itself until well into the mid-palate where a healthy dose of dark black pepper, bright mint, and sharp, char-driven barrel notes muscle in. Still, it doesn’t make for quite as gripping a finish as the bottled-in-bond, settling into a simmering, nearly balanced conclusion of dried clove, buttery Snickerdoodle cookie, and a bit of candied apple. Definitely the winner of the overproof Old Overholts, and a solid option for your next cocktail.
B+ / $35 / beamdistilling.com