A few weeks ago we received an email from PraxisPR, inviting us to attend the pre-launch party and tasting of the new Jim Beam Double Oaked and Black extra aged. So we, Bryan and Kyle, dutifully went to the Village Cigar Company & Barbershop for cocktails, old timey vaudevillian music, and in Bryan’s case, a free haircut won in a draw! This place was peak hipster, and a ton of fun, as you can see from the pictures!
We also went into the walk-in humidor for the tasting of these two bottles, led by the Canadian Jim Beam ambassador Matt Jones (@whisky_chef), who recently won American Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the Year from Icons of Whisky. Matt walked us through some Jim Beam history and then through the two drams, and also kindly chatted with us for a while afterwards too. We look forward to future events with him hopefully sometime later in 2017!
Now what you’re really waiting for… the reviews!
Jim Beam Black Extra Aged – 43%
The Jim Beam Black Extra Aged replaces the old Jim Beam
Black which was age stated 6 years. It’s a blend of whiskies 5-8yrs old and is their standard mashbill with about 18% rye. It won a bunch of awards last year including a best bourbon award and some double gold medals.
- Appearance: pretty typical bourbon colour
- Nose: Corn, oak, caramel, molasses, similar to bonded but more going on. Banana. Nutty. Toffee. Tannic
- Palate: Corn, oak forward, caramel honey some vanilla, hotter than expected for 43. Dry
- Finish: Short, oaky, warm.
- Score: 81/100
Overall, better than the Jim Beam Bonded i tried recently, and more complex and balanced vs a pure corn bomb.
- Nose: Spicy, definitely seems rye forward, quite oak dominant. Reminds me a lot of the nose on Knob Creek SmB, but maybe with the depth dialed slightly back.
- Palate: Mellow sweetness, develops with quite a bit of oak spice, vanilla, caramel, rye spices, cigar box spices.
- Finish: Finishes dry, dominated by the rye spices and oak. Medium length.
- Score: 83/100
Jim Beam Black Double Oaked – 43%
This is a new innovation from Jim Beam called Double Oaked that hasn’t been released up in Canada quite yet, but should hit shelves soon. They basically take the Jim Beam Black and put it in virgin oak for a second time, this time for about a year.
- Appearance: slightly darker than the JB Black. Failed to take a picture during the tasting, so I got one at the bar afterwards (hence the shitty cup).
- Nose: More fresh oak, younger now. Woody, caramel, some fruit. Same nuttiness.
- Palate: Oak forward again, lots of spice, banana , more rye like character, though might be the wood spice. More wood than black but lighter somehow and lesser perception of alcohol heat.
- Finish: longer, oaky and fruity.
- Score: 82/100
Slightly better than Black overall, and the spice gives it some more depth.
- Nose: A bit brash, although whether from youth or heavy tannins I can’t tell. Vanilla, caramels, somewhat thinner in body compared to the black.
- Palate: Unsurprisingly, much more oak up front. Comes across as a nice toasted oak, pepper, cinnamon, clove, vanilla, caramel. To me, this tastes like the black, but with the spice and oak dialed up, but the depth of body dialed back.
- Finish: Finishes dry again, with lots of oak and spice; black pepper, clove. A bit longer of a finish than the black, as the oak and spice linger.
- Score: 82/100
- Overall: These whiskies were actually better than I was expecting. The Jim Beam Black in particular reminds me a lot of Knob Creek SmB; albeit a more tame and approachable version. The Double Oak tasted very similar to the Black, but with the oak dialed up. Oddly enough, the Double Oak seemed lighter in body to me though, which is the reason it ended up scoring slightly below the Black. I am not sure if the lighter body is simply a matter of perception, where the heavier oak makes it simply seem lighter by comparison, or whether this is a case of Jim Beam trying to finish some of the more under active casks by giving them an oak topcoat. Either way, what I will say for both of these whiskies is that I can’t think of many other widely available bourbons in their price range that I have given similar scores; I believe OGD BiB might be the only one. Very solid daily sippers in my opinion.
Big thanks to Praxis PR for the invite, to Matt Jones for leading the tasting and chatting with us and Village Cigar Co. & Barbershop for hosting!