Before we begin, a confession. Bourbons like bottom-shelf Jim Beam (“White label’) and Jack Daniels were what kept me away from whiskey, including bourbons, for most of my life. Only after I discovered better whiskeys did I develop an appreciation for the diversity, richness and heritage of distilled spirits. After having done so, I began to circle back to some of the old classics to revisit them – and I still don’t like ’em very much. Regular Jim Beam (and JD) don’t do it for me. No bias – just not my favorite. Yet distillers come up with new expressions, made with new mash bills, or new techniques, and it’s always fun to try them. You never know when you’ll be surprised, so let’s take a look at Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged.
A straight bourbon from the Jim Beam Distillery
43% ABV, 86 proof
NAS (no age statement). The previous editions of Jim Beam Black were 8 years. This expression is aged longer than regular Jim Beam, but less than 8, so 6 years is a reasonable guess.
Mashbill: 77% Corn, 13% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Color: Light gold,
Nose: Powerful, some ethanol, classic beam yeast, rich.
Palate: Playful and bright on the front palate, but developing a more sour aftertaste heading towards the rear palate.
Just not knocking my socks off. There’s nothing bad about it, but I’m not a big fan of the classic Jim Beam flavor profile. Give me a Michter’s, Weller, Old Forester or Yellow Roses bourbon any day over this.
Also see a related product Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey and the big brother in the Beam lineup, Baker’s bourbon.
Here’s the complete Jim Beam standard line up (adapted from Wikipedia)
- Jim Beam (Original, white label) – aged 4 years in new charred oak barrels, 80 proof
- Jim Beam Black Extra Aged – was age stated at 8 years (6 years in export markets), but dropped the age statement at the beginning of 2015. 86 proof
- Jim Beam Devil’s Cut
- Jim Beam Bonded (metallic gold label) – aged 4 years, 100 proof, bottled in bond
- Jim Beam Double Oak (dark blue label) – matured in two barrels
- Jim Beam Single Barrel – 95 proof
And because they are just wonderful, here are some classic Jim Beam ads!