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KCM Spirit Reviews

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review 91: Jim Beam White Label

Review 91
Jim Beam White Label: 40% abv

Alright, in a new series of liquors, we will be reviewing bourbons to build up a cache of reviews, to give you an idea of what’s out there. And what is the quintessential bourbon? It’s on the top of the review, you idiots. There is no bigger name in the world of bourbon than Jim Beam. So let’s talk about what makes bourbon...well...bourbon! Jim Beam, found in Clermont, Kentucky is one of several Kentucky distilleries to produce legendary whiskey. So for all of you Michigan folks, you might not realize how close you are to a hub of real history. Bourbons don’t have to be made in Kentucky to be considered bourbons, like Scotch’s do in Scotland, but there are other strict regulations on bourbon. Several of these include being made up of 51% corn, being aged in never-before-used white oak casks, normally Hogshead or ASBs, and being TOTALLY AWESOME. Jim Beam does go back a while, but we want to focus on what it is right now, and what it should be. Jim Beam creates a range of products, many of which you might be familiar with, including their double aged, their 5 year, Red Stag’s line, and their Rye whiskey, along with their small batch whiskey’s and many others. Today’s attention goes to the one you’ve probably had the most of, if you’ve had Jim Beam: the White Label standard. The most affordable, eclectic of all the Jim Beam’s. So a practical review for the practical bourbon drinker? Is it only good in a mint julep, or on the rocks, or can it be drank straight, as a grade-A sipping drink.

On the nose, KCM found the standard, classic bourbon smell, with sweet notes of honey, caramel, corn, wheat molasses, cherry and a decent oak note. This surprised us, considering its young age of 4 years. The nose is not terribly complex, but does provide standard sweetness and burn you’d expect from this spirit.

The arrival will lend itself to oak and molasses notes, leading into stronger oak on the body, with honey, cinnamon, wheat and caramel. We were honestly not very impressed by the lack of complexity to the flavor, but it lent itself to strong flavor, nonetheless. The finish is spicy, with cinnamon and ginger to it, and some cereal notes of rye. The sweetness isn’t gone, keeping the honey, but adding some cherry as well. Unfortunately, when you get different notetakers, you also get different notes. Some of the other things we concluded about Jim Beam was that one of our reviewers thought that the spirit was called Jim BEAN, and that this same reviewer smelt some stenographer(????) on the nose. Also, the reviewer in question thought that easy listening might include Rage Against the Machine. So there you have it, some unrelated notes to Jim Beam that completely add nothing to this review! And what do we score it? Well, for the price, it isn’t at all a bad spirit, with good quality and pleasant flavors, but it certainly lacks the complexity and uniqueness that we expect out of top-tier whiskies. So it get’s to be somewhat of a middle man. 
Score: 7.5/10

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