Monday, January 28, 2008

Jim Beam White Label

Jim Beam
Aged 4 years
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
40% alc/vol

I'm really not as big into bourbon as I am into Scotch. It's a very different flavor, though it's not a bad one. It's also tricky for me to taste, since it's the main ingredient of my favorite cocktail back when I was in college, the Manhattan; I have to work to keep myself from writing simply, "This tastes like a Manhattan."

Some interesting facts about bourbon, from Wikipedia:

  • It must be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn, and is typically closer to 70% corn.
  • It must be 100% natural; no caramel coloring allowed!
  • The barrels in which it is aged must be new, American charred oak barrels.
  • Bourbon aged for two years or longer may be labeled as "straight" bourbon.
  • Bourbon younger than four years old must be labeled with its age.

So, you see, it's not just Scotch made in America!

Anyway, courtesy of my very silly sister, I bring you that perennial classic -- and the first American whiskey on this blog -- Jim Beam, a.k.a. Jim Beam White Label.


The usual russet color of whiskey. It's sweet on the nose, with vanilla and caramel, and a hint of freshly-ground black pepper. Much softer than Scotch. Do I smell cherries, or is that the Manhattan rearing its lovely head once again?

It's thin and watery on the palate, which feels odd to a mouth accustomed to usually creamier Scotch. I'm getting a lot of nutmeg in the flavor here.

The finish is long, much longer than I expect, with a lot of butterscotch and a tiny bit of peppermint.

Overall, not bad. I probably won't buy another bottle, though; for $15 per 750 mL, I can get whisky much more suitable for my palate. (Grant's tasting notes coming soon!)


Maddie said...

I can't believe you actually "tasted" it... at 2.99 for the bottle... I mean... I seriously asked the guy for the CHEAPEST bottle of whiskey they had. I figured you would put a bow on it and give it to the homeless guy in the portapot out back.

Mike said...

My name is Mike Street and I'm the blogger outreach guy for Knob Creek® and other Jim Beam related products. I was on your site and wanted to let you know about the exciting and new community added to It's called the "Expedition Map." (

It's a place where users can post their stories, videos, and photos and join in a community of Kentucky straight bourbon whisky lovers. From discovering a 100-foot tall tower of junk or finding a new bar where you can enjoy Knob Creek®, the Expedition Map is all about letting you share the fantastic, interesting, or just plain wacky places you discover along the way.

We invite you to post a pin with your discovery so other explorers may follow behind. I'd love if you could check out the expedition map and tell us what you think. If you like it, we’d love it if you could share this with your readers.

We are also launching a new ultra premium rye based whisky. And I’d love it if I could send you more information on that as well. Please let me know.

A. di Michele said...

not very fair to pick a representative 'bourbon' and it's Jim Beam white! terrible stuff. at least compared to many many many (many!) other bourbons out there, including some make by Beam. a shame beam is more about marketing, than making across the board great bourbon. beam beats non-bourbon jack by far, but so much more beats beam at its own game. how about, as a scotch drinker, research bourbons and find a good representative...wild turkey rare breed....weller antique....there are many....(many!)


Will said...

Thanks for the comment, A! In fact, I didn't particularly choose Jim Beam -- it was a gag gift from my sister. I do, in fact, have a bottle of the award-winning Baker's 7yo just waiting to be enjoyed, and I'll post about it when I do! :)