Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey

Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey

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Buy Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey

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The Number One Selling Bourbon

Jim Beam Bourbon, probably more commonly known as Jim Beam White Label, is Beam’s flagship product. According to data compiled by The Spirits Business, in 2020, the Jim Beam brand was the number one selling bourbon in the world, and good ‘ol Jim Beam White Label made up the majority of those sales. You may be wondering why Jim Beam Bourbon is so popular? That’s a fair question, so let’s take a closer look.

Technical Details

Although Beam does not disclose their mash bills, it is accepted that their bourbon mash bill is 75% corn, 13% rye & 12% malted barley. Jim Beam White Label is aged at least four years, and probably not much more. It is made from a large batch of barrels of an undisclosed quantity, but to maintain a consistent flavor and meet the high demands, we can only assume that it is LARGE. For reference, a “small batch” for Beam, for example what Knob Creek, Baker’s, Basil Hayden and Booker’s are considered, can be up to 250 barrels. So a large batch is, well, large!

Here are a few more facts about Jim Beam White Label Bourbon for those who are interested: It is distilled via continuous column still with the low wine being 125 proof and the high wine 135 proof. It enters the barrel at 125 proof and is bottled at 80 proof. So there’s quite a bit of water added at the end to proof it down to barreling proof.

Tasting Notes for Jim Beam Bourbon

Let’s taste it:

🛏 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉🏻Nose: Honey, caramel, vanilla, apple cider, light toast, light baking spices, cinnamon, light leather & cedar; light alcohol
👉🏻Taste: Honey, black tea, caramel, light baking spices
👉🏻Finish: Flavors rapidly fade to black pepper and char, with lingering spice into the medium length finish

Overall, the nose is soft with pleasant flavors, with a little bit of tang coming from apple cider, and a little bite from cedar and cinnamon. The cinnamon becomes a lot more noticeable after a sip or two. In the taste there’s some black tea, honey, caramel and a hint of apple. However, those flavors fade quickly on the finish leaving mainly char and black pepper which linger for a little while. The char becomes a bit astringent with time and the original sweeter flavors are all but gone. Even though the flavors change a bit throughout the sip, there’s not a lot of complexity, and by the finish I am longing for something more.

Summary

As a neat pour, Jim Beam White Label Bourbon is a bit lacking, although at 80 proof, it’s quite easy to drink. It may be more popular as a mixer for those who don’t want their cocktails to be too “bourbon forward”. For anyone looking for a bit more of, well, everything, Jim Beam Black may be the one for you to try. Aged a couple of more years than White Label, it has similar flavors, but they are more intense. There’s more oak and leather, and still also some cinnamon which continues into the finish. (Check out my Jim Beam Black Bourbon review for more details!) Whatever the appeal, people are buying an awful lot of Jim Beam Bourbon, so Beam’s got a good thing going. Are you a fan? Cheers!

For many drinkers, Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s were the first American whiskeys they ever tasted. For many, they’re still the only whiskeys of any note. Jim Beam’s core product (now dubbed Original) has its roots in Jacob Beam’s original corn whiskey, which was first commercially distilled in 1795. James B. Beam, his grandson, launched the James B. Beam Distilling in 1933 and changed the name of the family product from Old Tub to Colonel James B. Beam in 1935 and to Jim Beam in 1943. And though the company has changed hands over the years, there are still Beam descendants intricately involved in distilling and producing Beam products. Fred Noe and his son Freddie Noe are the seventh and eighth generation of Beam distillers and are still going strong.

The beauty of straight bourbon whiskey is you can’t really monkey with it too much. By law, it has to be aged in new oak, must be at least 51% corn and can’t have any additives (except water to cut it to proof) or coloring. It must be aged for at least two years (Jim Beam Original is aged for four). The company claims the same proprietary yeast strain has been used since 1933, ensuring a consistency in the product that’s hard to come by when relying on wild or random commercially sourced yeasts. All of this is to say that with Jim Beam Original, you know what you’re getting: an honest, straightforward bourbon. On the palate, it’s not terribly complex, but that’s perfectly all right. The oak-and-spice combo hits you right away and is what you’re left with in the finish. In between, you pick up more notes of toasted nuts, chocolate and cocoa. It’s one reason it pairs so perfectly with Coke or other colas.

If you’ve ventured away from the basics, into more complex or inventive bourbons and other American whiskeys, it may seem like there’s no real purpose for Beam Original except to secure a buzz. An aficionado may find it overly simplistic in terms of flavor and character or too low-proof to really take seriously. But often it takes just a sip or two for them to remember where they (and bourbon) started.

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