Posts from the ‘Jim Beam’ Category

Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon Review

James Beam

Jim Beam Bonded is a throwback to the days when Colonel James Beam brought the distillery through Prohibition.

I know it has been way too long since I published a review, but I’ll try to make up for it here in the coming months, as I’ve got a few reviews in the queue.  I’m kicking off my fall reviews with a great bargain bourbon – Jim Beam Bonded (Gold Label) Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.  I’ve talked about bottled-in-bond bourbons on the site before, and this one is no different.  It is 4 years old, 100 proof (50% abv), from a single distillery, and distilled in a single season.  This is a fairly new product from Beam, and (spoiler alert) I really hope it sticks around.

The color of this bourbon is mild amber, with orange-gold tints.  The nose is rich with big, full vanilla, sawdust, and sweet oak.  The palate is full and sweet with brown sugar, vanilla, creamy vanilla frosting, and rich buttercream.  The finish is long and sweet with vanilla and brown sugar.  Overall, this is a rich, creamy, sweet bourbon with a syrupy sweet, creamy mouthfeel. There is a little oak twinge that runs through it, almost like the wood of a freshly smoked pipe.

In conclusion, this is a very good bourbon, well-made by a distillery that knows exactly what it is doing when it comes to bourbon.  This is sweet, woody, and downright delicious all the way through.  Give this one a whirl, and I suspect it will quickly become a staple of your cabinet with the holidays approaching.  My grade: B.  Price: $20-25/750ml.  At the price, Jim Beam Bonded is certainly one of the best bourbons on the shelf at your local liquor store.

Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 Year Bourbon Review

It’s been a while since I did a good old-fashioned bourbon review here at Bargain Bourbon, so today we’re getting into Jim Beam’s new Signature Craft series.  The Jim Beam Signature Craft series is a new line for the famous Beam distillery which will include limited releases (the first release was a bourbon finished with Spanish brandy) and the new Jim Beam 12 year bourbon.  To the best of my knowledge, 12 years is the oldest standard release out of the Beam distillery to date.  It is bottled at 86 proof (43% abv).  The release of the Signature Craft series is not the only thing Beam has been up to in the past year or so.  Beam, Inc. was recently bought by Suntory, Ltd., which was followed shortly by the announcement of their new spokesperson, Mila Kunis.

In the glass, Jim Beam 12 is a beautiful amber, russet color.  On the nose, this bourbon smells of a sawmill (in a good way), with cherry cola, oak, some florals, and some vanilla.  The palate develops the oak even further along with vanilla, cherry cordial, and some tannic bitterness.  The finish is medium in length, with those same cherry notes, oak spice, and some lingering bitterness.  This bourbon is plenty drinkable at its bottle strength, and water tends to bring the flavors apart too much.

Overall, Jim Beam 12 year-old is decent bourbon, but in my opinion, it has spent a little too much time in the wood.  Jim Beam makes very good bourbon, and their new 12 year is no exception.  However, there is a reason Booker Noe liked his bourbon between six and eight years old – that is where Jim Beam’s bourbon is at its best.  Booker Noe knew what he was talking about.  This is a bit like a child that lives at home too long.  It is still very good, but it is just too woody to be my favorite bourbon coming out of Jim Beam.  My grade: B-.  Price: $35-40/750ml.  At the price point, there are bourbons I prefer to this one, but its elegance and age give this bourbon a unique spin on the standard Beam line.

Some Thoughts on New, Aged Releases: Bulleit 10 and Jim Beam 12

Well, as anybody who follows the bourbon world knows, the blogs have been blowing up the last week with Maker’s Mark’s news of its decrease in proof.  Thankfully, for the sake of all our sanity, this heathenistic decision has now been repealed.  So, naturally, we need something else to talk about in bourbon land.  As I am always on the hunt for the latest and greatest value whiskeys, I thought I would offer some preliminary thoughts on a few bourbons on the horizon.

Diageo has recently bombarded the shelves (even in Boston) with Bulleit 10.  I have reviewed the standard Bulleit Frontier Bourbon and the Bulleit 95 Rye, with the former passing and the latter performing very well.  According to my roommate Chris and Jason Pyle, both these whiskeys are very good in cocktails.  I have every reason to suspect that the Bulleit 10 will continue that tradition.  I am excited to see how this whiskey fairs as a sipping bourbon, too.  Four Roses is the supplier of the Bulleit label bourbons, and I have every reason to suspect that Four Roses will continue making good bourbon.  I have always maintained that Bulleit’s Frontier bourbon is too drying a spirit for a straight pour, much the way I feel about Old Grand-Dad.  I am anxious to see if the 10 year brings a mellower side to Bulleit.  Of course, it is also priced around $40/750 ml here in Boston which might make it a good value buy if it comes through.

The other whiskey that is set to hit the shelves this summer is Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 year.  According to Chuck Cowdery’s post on the subject, Jim Beam will be releasing a craft series that will include the 12 year old and some other limited releases.  One of the traditional knocks against Jim Beam has always been that they have stayed away from limited releases, whereas Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, and Woodford Reserve have sought to explore new frontiers of American whiskey with all sorts of limited edition bottlings.  In addition to being new territory in terms of limited edition bourbons, Jim Beam 12 year will also be the oldest bourbon to come out of Jim Beam as a standard product (there have been some limited edition older bottlings).  To that point, I am excited to see what this bourbon is made up of since Jim Beam has always been one of my favorite bottlers of great value whiskey.  Devil’s Cut, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve, and Booker’s are all very good value whiskeys to have around your cabinet.  Supposedly, this new 12 year will be about $50/750 ml.  That is about the price of a bottle of Booker’s, so this will have some living up to do in my book, but I am excited nonetheless.

If any readers have had a chance to try these bourbons, I’ll love to hear what you think so far.  In the meantime, let it ride!

Jim Beam Yellow Label Rye Review

Today, I am reviewing Jim Beam Yellow Label, the flagship rye whiskey from the James B. Beam Distillery.  I have reviewed a few rye whiskeys on the blog so far, but this is the cheapest one so far.  Jim Beam Yellow Label is bottled at 80 proof and aged 4 years, just like Jim Beam’s entry level bourbon.  However, I do believe that rye whiskeys work better at younger ages than bourbons, and I believe Jim Beam’s Rye is an example of that.

On the nose, Jim Beam Rye is a quintessential rye whiskey.  There are notes of rye spices, menthol, cinnamon, pine straw, black licorice, and dried mint leaves.  It is a very pleasant nose, although it is a little subdued.  It doesn’t quite jump out of the glass like some other rye whiskeys.  The palate has a nice balance of sweet and spicy notes, the combination between vanilla and cinnamon.  There are also notes of evergreen trees and sour candy.  The finish is moderate to medium long.  There is some rye spice lingering, combined with mint leaves and a little vanilla.

Overall, I am a fan of this whiskey.  It is flavorful up front, and it is a great introduction to rye whiskey.  It makes a flavorful mixer if rye-based drinks are your style.  The nose is very nice, and the palate is a simple, solid presentation of what a rye whiskey can be.  My grade: C.  Price: $15-20/750ml.  What is best about this whiskey is the price.  For $16, you can have a great introduction to rye whiskey and a great mixing whiskey for your liquor cabinet.

Jim Beam Black Label Review

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.

Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Review

I have to admit that I was skeptical of Devil’s Cut when Jim Beam first released it several months ago.  The concept behind the bourbon is very interesting, but it seemed like a cheap gimmick to me.  However, after learning about the bourbon and getting my hands on a bottle, I have opened my mind.

Jim Beam Devil’s Cut is a 90 proof bourbon that begins with 6 year old Jim Beam from their standard mash bill.  However, at the distillery, the “Devil’s Cut” is infused into the bourbon before it is bottled.  The Devil’s Cut is a play on the “Angel’s Share,” the whiskey that is lost via evaporation during the aging process.  However, some of the whiskey is also lost in the barrel itself.  Therefore, if the barrel is agitated, more whiskey will come out of its hibernation in the American Oak.  The whiskey left in the barrels is the “Devil’s Cut,” and this is the product that is infused into Jim Beam’s 6-year bourbon to create Jim Beam Devil’s Cut.

On the nose, this bourbon is incredibly sweet.  There are hints of fruits (cherries, bananas, caramel apples), with some sweet oak and barrel spices rounding out the aroma.  The palate is delicious.  The primary flavors at first are caramel, honey, vanilla, nougat, green apples, cherries, and some brown sugar.  However, the sweetness that opens the bourbon is abruptly shoved aside by a monstrous finish of oak and barrel spices.  The only way to understand what I mean by monstrous finish is to try this bourbon.  I’ve never had a finish that hits quite like this one.  However, it is also long and warming, with some sweet oak, caramel, and brown sugar resurging briefly for a second appearance.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with this bourbon.  It is intriguing from start to finish, and it is a unique expression of what bourbon can be.  However, it is definitely a little rough around the edges, and not very refined.  It takes your senses on one hell of a ride, but it is a very good value bourbon.  My grade: B-.  Price: $25-30/750ml.  The uniqueness of this whiskey, and the good value make it a nice whiskey to keep in the cabinet every once in a while.

Jim Beam White Label Review

One of the most well-known and popular bourbon distilleries is the James B. Beam Distilling Company.  This distillery produces a wide variety of whiskeys, from their well-known white label to their small batch collection of craft bourbons.  Jim Beam White Label is the cheapest bourbon ($15-$20 per 750ml) that is sold by the distillery, and it is a decent entry level bourbon for somebody interested in starting their bourbon career.  Like Four Roses Yellow Label, Jim Beam White is only 80 proof, which makes it a drinkable bourbon if you are not used to drinking whiskey.  White Label also has a very distinctive and traditional bourbon character, which makes it a good bourbon for learning about what to expect from bourbon.  The nose has notes of vanilla, some light fruits, and some lingering oak.  The palate is traditional bourbon, with notes of vanilla, corn, caramel sweetness, and some oak.  The finish is pretty clean, but still warming.  What makes White Label a cheap bourbon is that the notes are very flat, and they do not come together with any character.  Jim Beam White Label will give you a bland version of the journey that bourbon can take you on, but it leaves a lot to be desired (and consumed) in older, more complex bourbons.

My grade: C-.  Price: $15-20/750ml.  This is a nice, sweet, simple bourbon that makes a nice standard pour on the bottom shelf.