I received an email that Jim Beam would be holding a tasting at one of my favorite liquor stores in the Nashville area, Red Spirits and Wine. When I got there I met Bernie Lubbers, Jim Beam’s brand ambassador and Whiskey Professor. Bernie is a well traveled former stand up comic and is extremely knowledgeable about whiskey. And to say he wrote the book is no exaggeration. He actually wrote the book, “Bourbon Whiskey Our Native Spirit, 2nd Ed: Sour Mash and Sweet Adventures of the Whiskey Professor“.
After talking for a few minutes about how Jim Beam makes Devil’s Cut and tasting several different JB products, we walked over to the whiskey aisle to talk about labels. Over the next ten minutes or so, Bernie walked me through labels on several brands to show me how to differentiate where the whiskey was made, if it was actually distilled by the bottler, and more. Basically, I got a free lecture on whiskey and specifically the label. Definitely worth the cost of admission…which was free! All in all, Bernie is a great guy and like most everyone I’ve met in the industry, he loves to talk all about whiskey. I could go on more, but this post is a review of Jim Beam Black so let’s get on with it!
I picked up Jim Beam Black without having tasted it before. I’m not a big fan of the original but I do like some of the other Jim Beam efforts like Knob Creek and Basil Hayden. Hoping that this would turn out well, I got a glass and started the review. I know…work, work.
Jim Beam Black is 86 proof and “double aged,” meaning it spends twice as long as Jim Beam Original, 8 years, in charred white oak barrels. This gives it a more mellow and complex taste.
The color is a dark golden amber. Typical of most bourbons and maybe just a shade darker than most.
The nose is a strong caramel, vanilla, and corn aroma with a strong alcohol scent over the top. The alcohol doesn’t overwhelm, it’s more of a reminder that this is indeed an adult beverage.
Tasting this was a delight! I got a caramel, vanilla, and spice front end that had a hint of cinnamon. After poking around a little I was able to pick out a nice oak flavor as well. It kind of lingers on the palette for a short time then fades away gracefully. I wish it had a longer finish, time to reflect on the sip. Not a big deal though.
This bourbon is definitely worth the $21.99 I paid for it. If you’re cooking out and looking for a good mixer or just hanging out and are looking for a good inexpensive pour, this is your whiskey! I had it neat and over ice and liked both a lot.
Jim Beam Black gets a 4.5 out of 5 noses! Mainly because of the price, I couldn’t let this get any lower of a score. With the quality of this bourbon it’s a steal at $22.
Get a bottle and let us know what you think. Have you already tried it? Did you like it or not? Leave a comment to let us know!