Jim Beam Signature Craft Finished with Rare Spanish Brandy 86 proof; no age statement $39.99/750ml The story: Jim Beam, the world’s top-selling bourbon, is introducing a new line of “ultra-premium” brands. The Signature Craft Finished with Rare Spanish Brandy is the first of a series of limited-release small-batch expressions in the Signature Craft line. It will be available until summer 2014, when a new small-batch expression will replace it. According to notes from the distiller, this bourbon is “extra-aged,” but no exact age was given (Jim Beam Signature Craft, the permanent expression in the new line, is aged 12 years, which is the oldest age statement Beam has ever specified). Beam kindly provided me with a sample for this review. The aroma: Fresh woodsy scent, like newly sawn lumber; salt; orange; floral notes The taste: Some peppery spice on the front; sweet and floral on the mid-palate, with a thick, syrupy mouthfeel; nice long finish, where the brandy influence really shines. The verdict: I liked this quite a bit. Unlike many recent special bourbons, this Beam isn’t barrel-finished in a brandy barrel: The distiller actually added a small amount of brandy to the bourbon. It’s a very nice pairing. The brandy doesn’t overpower the bourbon; instead, it complements it. Worth looking for.