Today I’m resuming my tasting notes from the Jim Beam Sampler Pack. To give the Black and the Rye some context, let’s first sample the original.
Four years old; 80 proof
Aroma: Lots of vanilla, some alcohol
Taste: Light, vanilla/floral flavors with a hint of oak; smooth on the palate with a little alcohol burn.
Verdict: Jim Beam’s current slogan is “bold choice,” but there is nothing bold about this original recipe. Jim Beam is what I’d call a “simple” bourbon. Mild and smooth, it’s fine by itself and also mixes well. There’s nothing here to offend anyone; there’s just not much to recommend, either. Its middle-of-the-road nature probably explains why Jim Beam is the top selling bourbon in the world. I personally prefer bourbons with more complex flavor profiles.
Eight years old; 86 proof
Aroma: Lots of oak
Taste: Caramel, vanilla, licorice; a lot of oak, especially on the finish. “Quiet” on the tongue, not much fire.
Verdict: Jim Beam Black, aged twice as long as Jim Beam, benefits from its extra time in the barrel. It has a darker caramel color and a more complex flavor, picking up more oak and a nice smoky character.
Up next: Jim Beam Rye