Today, I am reviewing Jim Beam Black Label. I have reviewed a lot of the products from the James B. Beam Distillery, including White Label, Devil’s Cut, and most of the bourbons in the Small Batch Collection. Despite being a big (and very popular) distillery, I believe that Jim Beam comes out with some great value whiskeys, one of which is Jim Beam Black Label.
Jim Beam Black Label is aged 8 years, and bottled at 86 proof. It is older than both the White Label and the Devil’s Cut, yet it is priced between the two. It is not uncommon to find Black Label for $20. I should probably say up front that I believe it is the best bourbon I have had for $20. While there are some great whiskeys a step or two up in the price point, if you see Jim Beam Black Label for $20 in your local liquor store, snag a bottle or two.
On the nose, Jim Beam Black is full-bodied and rich. The traditional bourbon aromas of vanilla, caramel, oak, and corn are all present with good balance, but the real treat is the heavy, earthy aromas that come through (maybe black tea leaves). The palate is medium to full in its body, and it begins with a heavy sweetness of caramel, maple syrup, and toasted vanilla. As the whiskey moves to the back of the palate, the oak and wood spice begin to take over. The finish is moderately long with robust vanilla and charred oak. The dense sweetness of caramel returns after a short rest.
Overall, Jim Beam Black Label is a very good bourbon, but not a great bourbon. For me, it lacks some character and individuality. However, it is everything that a bourbon ought to be. It is definitely better than Jim Beam White Label, but I do not think the Black Label is as diverse and complex as the Devil’s Cut. Nevertheless, at the price point, Jim Beam Black Label is hard to beat. My grade: C. Price: $20-25/750ml. This is a nice sipper to keep around the house, but it isn’t my favorite daily sipping whiskey.