The Jim Beam Black review
Company: Jim Beam
Age: 6 years
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: 77% Corn, 13% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Price: c. £23
The Jim Beam name is synonymous with American whiskey and the family history goes back to German immigrants who moved to American in the eighteenth century. The original family name was Boehm, later changed to the more Anglo-American sounding Beam. In 1795 Jacob Beam sold his first barrel of whiskey - named 'Old Jake Beam Sour Mash', from the Old Tub distillery.
The name of Jim Beam as we know it today was bestowed in honour of James B Beam who in 1933 began rebuilding the brand after prohibition. Seven generations of the Beam family have been involved in the production of whiskey and the public face, global ambassador, and master distiller of Beam today is Fred Noe the great grandson of Jim Beam. It is now no longer American owned and was bought by the Japanese Suntory Holdings in 2014 making it the third largest whiskey producer and distiller in the world.
Jim Beam Black is one of seven different offerings (as always not including the flavoured whiskies) with the name of 'Jim Beam' on the bottle. There have been a number of similar Jim Beam Black versions from Double Aged (declared 8 year age statement), XA Extra, and the latest US release called Extra-Aged. For this review it was the export market 6 year old which is labelled as triple aged, so three times the minimum maturation period to be called straight bourbon.
For this review we drank it neat in a shot glass (don’t ask!)
What we got - Wheat (Mr Pie), wood, chocolate (Mav), dry (by this we mean it’s sweet and woody mixed together), Lemon Grass (Mr Pie) and cherry
What they say we should get - Classic bourbon caramel with some orange zest and vanilla
What we got - At first its hot, dry (again), wood, burnt wood and gives way to cherries. Cherry Bakewell (something Mav finds quite common with JB offerings) and marzipan,
What they say we should get - Silky smooth with toffee and honey notes which lead into a citrus dominated finish
What we got – Short, too short for how good the rest of it is!
What they say we should get – Short to Medium with citrus notes
Without doubt one of Mav's favourite go-to bourbons. As you can see from the score Mr Pie is not as big a fan of this drink but still rates it above average. This is one of those often mentioned 'every day sippers' that the Gents like to bang on about. It's where Jim Beam stops being that thing you mix with coke (i.e. the White Label) and starts being something that makes you sit up and take notice.
Sure there are other bottles from Jim Beam that make you take notice a lot more than this one (Booker's and Baker's spring to mind), but those others don't come in at under £25 - or anywhere near it for that matter. For your money this delivers a lot, and the flavours are worth revisiting again and again whatever the situation.
It's always tough to give a balanced summary when one of the Gents loves something and the other merely just likes it. So the best advice we can offer on this one is that if you like the high rye type of bourbons and whiskeys then maybe you won’t love this like Mav does. However if you like the sweet, chocolate, oaky, flavours in your bourbon then you will not regret buying a bottle of this and adding it to your collection.
8 out of 10 - Mav
6 out of 10 – Mr. Pie