|Jim Beam, Baker?s Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
One of four whiskeys that comprise Jim Beam?s Small Batch Bourbon Collection, Baker?s 7-year-old is named after Baker Beam, formerly Master Distiller at the Clermont Distillery in Kentucky, and great-nephew of the legendary Jim Beam himself. Baker Beam is also a cousin of the late Booker Noe, the distiller credited with pioneering small batch Bourbons. Baker?s is made to the standard Jim Beam formula but is presented at a higher alcoholic strength and is aged for a longer period of time.
Vanilla fudge, Caramac bars, spice and nougat on the confident, rounded nose. Big and soft on the mellow palate, with fruity spices, caramel, and something close to a brandy note. Liquorice root and lingering oak in the leisurely finish. An ideal after-dinner Bourbon, which opens up nicely with a splash of water. 53.5% ABV, 70cl, ?43.95, specialist whisky merchants.
|Jim Beam, Basil Hayden?s Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
In addition to its 'mainstream' offerings, Jim Beam has produced four 'small batch' Bourbon brands since the 1990s, namely Baker's, Basil Hayden's, Booker's and Knob Creek. These are produced from hand-picked barrels which are allocated to the best maturing warehouses and are allowed to mature for longer than the standard bottlings. Named after a pioneering Kentucky distiller, Basil Hayden?s is an eight-year-old whiskey produced to a high-rye formula. The nose of Basil Hayden?s is light, aromatic and spicy, with soft rye, wood polish, spices, pepper and vanilla on the palate. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, ?34.99, specialist whisky merchants.
|Jim Beam, Black Label Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
This eight-year-old expression possesses greater depth than White Label, with more complex fruit and vanilla notes, plus liquorice, vanilla and sweet rye. 45.0% ABV, 70cl, ?21.95, specialist whisky merchants.
|Jim Beam, Honey Spirit Drink (USA) |
Flavoured whiskeys are all the range in the States right now, and have been responsible for some impressive sales figures. Following on the heels of Red Stag, Jim Beam Bourbon has produced a honey-infused Bourbon, which by law must be described as a ?spirit drink.?
The Beam take on whiskey and honey liqueur offers a floral nose, with coconut ice, honey, cinder toffee and developing vanilla, while the palate offers lots of not unexpected honey, along with caramel. Lingering honey in the soft, smooth finish. This works well when served ?on the rocks? or from the freezer.
35.0% ABV, 70cl, ?22.95, specialist whisky merchants.
|Jim Beam, Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
Knob Creek is the Kentucky town where Abraham Lincoln?s father, Thomas, owned a farm and worked at the local distillery. This nine-year-old Bourbon is made with the same high-rye formula as Basil Hayden?s. It has a nutty nose of sweet, tangy fruit and rye, with malt, spice and nuts on the palate, drying in the finish with notes of vanilla. 50.0% ABV, 70cl, ?26.99, specialist whisky merchants.
|Jim Beam, Red Stag (USA) |
Although marketed by producer Jim Beam as ?...the first ever flavoured Bourbon for the UK market,? the word ?Bourbon? is conspicuous by its absence on labelling relating to this innovative new drink. This is presumably due to the sensitivity of the Bourbon industry, like the Scotch whisky industry, regarding the rigid definitions relating to their product.
Introduced in the USA during 2009, Red Stag is aimed predominantly at 18-24-year-old professional males. According to Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc, ?Made with four-year-old Jim Beam Bourbon, Red Stag by Jim Beam has been slowly infused with natural black cherry using a unique artisanal process, to create a sophisticated drink that retains the Jim Beam quality standard and 40% ABV. Red Stag is best served as a chilled shot, guaranteed to get the party started for those who like to enjoy life in the fast lane. Alternatively, its smooth, well-rounded taste makes for an equally enjoyable and refreshing long drink when mixed with Cola or ginger.?
Marzipan, almonds and Morello cherries on the nose, which is relatively one-dimensional. Served ?on the rocks,? the nose becomes closer to strawberries and fresh cream. Easy-drinking, with little sense of alcohol, and little sense of Bourbon, either. Sweet and cloying, with an artificially-sweetened cherry flavour dominating. A suggestion of oak and slight spice, plus a rumour of Bourbon in the finish. Neither water nor ice makes any discernible difference to the palate. Improved by the addition of cola, and definitely one for the mixologists! 40.0% ABV, 70cl, ?21.75, Asda.
|Jim Beam, White Label Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
The 'house' style of Jim Beam is characterised by a significant proportion of rye in the mash bill, along with a high percentage of corn, the remainder of the mash bill being made up of malted barley. There are vanilla and delicate floral notes on the nose of this four-year-old Bourbon. Initially sweet, with restrained vanilla, then drier, oaky notes develop, fading into furniture polish and soft malt in the finish. Once described, with some justification, as ?a mellow baritone of a spirit.? 40.0% ABV, 70cl, ?16.50, widely available.