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KCM Spirit Reviews

Friday, August 24, 2012

Review 93: Jim Beam Black Label Double Aged

Review 93
Jim Beam Black Label Double Aged: 43% abv

Well, since I’m the main “editor” of KCM’s reviews and I’ve pretty much been failing at my job due to having real jobs, I haven’t been too invested in writing up reviews. Fret not, because KCM has been doing reviews! We just haven’t gotten around to posting them. So here is one. Jim Beam Black Label is the upper class of the Jim Beam line, before you get into the Small Batch products, like Booker’s (We’ve reviewed Booker’s, so check it out!) What a good showing by Jim Beam, this one. Just off of presentation, they do a good job with this one. It starts off telling you its age, at 8 years. Young compared to our Scottish whiskies, but still a decent age. We don’t make a big deal out of price, but if you’re bargain shopping for whiskies, (I’m not talking to you college blonde drinking Mohawk vodka) this is the way to go. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Black runs you in Michigan around $25 a bottle. For that, you get a 43% bourbon with good flavor, simple presentation, and good quality. Is that a spoiler alert? Yes. Yes it is. “M” quickly cited at the beginning of the review that he noticed a note of bourbon in the bourbon...there’s always got to be something that doesn’t help anybody.

On the nose though, you get a light nose, which opens up over time. This nose will make you work to get the scents you might be looking for, but be patient with it. It is a rewarding experience when you get around to it. Let’s see what we dug down for. Bourbon always has some sweetness in the nose, even though there is often harsh spiciness to be found as well. Indeed there is sweetness, and many layers of sweetness. Caramel, honey, vanilla, confectioner’s sugar, and malt all greet the nose, but it’s at different times that you’ll start to realize it. Interestingly, there are some other notes which we found to be compelling. There is a small hint of mint that you’ll catch if you pay attention, with gingerbread, wheat and unripened banana also nestled in the aroma. There isn’t a ton of complexity to the smell, but it certainly has some compelling aspects to it. There was enough to it that we were excited to try it. When we tried this bourbon, we were pleasantly surprised.

On the arrival, you can find molasses, caramel ginger, and cinnamon. There is a nice, healthy spiciness to this bourbon, but it doesn’t overpower you. Once again, Jim Beam wants to throw some curveballs at you, so what have we found that you don’t expect to hear in a bourbon review: Blackberry, malted barley, and sugarcane. There is some slight rye to it as well. But hey, not too shabby for a cheap bourbon. We don’t have a lot to report on the finish, but it doesn’t disappoint either. It is a medium length finish, lingering slightly. There is wheat, barley, molasses, a large amount of oakiness, ginger, and vanilla involved in the finish. It isn’t complex, but it certainly is enjoyable. And on that bombshell, here’s what we roll this up to be. A less than powerful, but still wonderful expression of Beam, which wouldn’t be too bruised by going up to 46% abv. It is good, and we enjoy a healthy dram of it. We think you will too. 
Score: 8.0/10

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