Jim Beam/Jim Beam Black

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. 

Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

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.

Jim Beam Black

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  

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