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travisbicks
04-06-2011, 17:47
Firstly, my apologies for asking something that I'm sure reveals my ignorance and has made many of those reading groan with boredom.

I’ve recently started to drink American whiskeys for the first time and have tried the three above. I’ve found I really enjoy what I think is the distinctive bourbon taste (I’m aware that Jack Daniels isn’t strictly bourbon) and find them vastly superior to the cheap blended scotch I usually drink. What struck me at first was the lack of smokiness and a strong “medicinal” taste reminiscent to me of cough candy. What is it that I taste here, is it the effect of the new wood barrels or something else in the make up of bourbon?

Anyway, of the three I’ve tasted I much prefer the white label Jim Beam to the other two. I find the “medicinal” taste is much more complex and more pronounced with the white label. The Jim Beam black and the Jack Daniels taste very similar to me- a little too much like nail varnish, particularly the JD (not that I often drink nail varnish). From my limited research it seems that I “should” prefer the Jim Beam black – certainly to the white.

One thing I’ve found confusing is that the black label I have is 6 years old (described on the label as “triple aged”) and was actually cheaper than the white, whilst references I’ve found to Jim Beam black describe it as 8 years old.

So, I suppose my question is whether it’s my ignorance that’s leading me to prefer the white label or is it simply a case of personal preference? Also, could someone hazard a guess upon what it is I prefer about the white label and perhaps make recommendations based on it that won’t deplete my bank account too much?

Thanks,

John

Parkersback
04-06-2011, 20:34
John, welcome to SB.

First of all, if you like Jim Beam White, then you like it, and that's great. You wonder if it is your "ignorance" that is leading you to like it. I wouldn't say that at all, you simply like it, and that's fine. I would say, though, that as you taste more bourbons, your opinion of JBW will certainly change. It won't necessarily change for the worse, but it will change.

Second, if you want to learn what it is you like about JBW, I'd recommend spending a few minutes using the "search" function. You'll end up going from one thread to another, learning all kinds of things. Start with a thread on JBW, and that will lead you in a 1000 directions.

Third, if you want to compare JBW to a few things, I'd recommend Maker's Mark and Buffalo Trace. Those two bourbons are pretty easily found, somewhat cheap (I've seen them for 23.99 and 19.99 respectively in the last few days) and are good "starter" bourbons to compare to JBW. They also happen to be vastly different from one another.

TNbourbon
04-06-2011, 20:44
Okay, I'll take a shot -- and hope that you can read past the next line without feeling it's pejorative (because, it's not!).
The reason I think you like Jim Beam standard white-label is because of an immature palate.
(Quickly, he added:)) I say that because, in fact, I think it shows signs of tending toward a very good palate. Jim Beam white is 'Bourbon 101': it has a very corny mouthfeel and palate presence (and, of course, the chief element of bourbon IS corn); it has a bit of the mintiness -- which you describe as "medicinal" or "cough syrup" -- that pretty much pre-supposes the rye element of the bourbon; and you think the JD tastes like nail varnish:grin: ! (Okay, that's a cheap joke! There's nothing really 'wrong' with Jack Daniel's, and it's very close kin, whiskey-wise, to Jim Beam white. The difference, essentially, is the maple-wood treatment JD gets, which both strips some of the 'minty', and adds some 'charring', which I've known to come across as acetone-ish, if overdone, which I think JD is. To me, JD's "Lincoln County Process" is a fancier version of adding wood chips to the distillate to age it more quickly.:skep:)
In short, I think you enjoy a good, basic whiskey in JB White (try Old Crow Reserve -- with the black label -- by the way).
I'm puzzled, however, by your description of JB Black as 6 years old. Where are you located? I've never known a 6yo JB Black in the U.S. It's certainly changed ages and proofs many times over the years, but 7 years is the youngest I've ever seen or experienced.
Anyway, I suggest you put that bottle back a couple of months, and taste it again after you've enjoyed what you like today a little longer -- for example, until maybe that enjoyment starts to wear off a little. I think that ennui will indicate that maybe you're ready to step up to another layer or level of flavor, which generally, in bourbon, comes with age (of the whiskey, not the drinker :lol:).
I'd also suggest that you try something like Rebel Yell, if you can find it, or W.L. Weller Special Reserve, both wheaters (wheat in place of the rye grain in the mash bill), which can be gentler on the palate even with a bit of age (the Weller is 7 years old). You may still like the Beam better, but at least you've made a basis for comparison. And neither whiskey is expensive.
In summary, you've started to experiment and form opinions about bourbon. That's all, really, any of us ever do. And both experience and opinions are as personal and varied as the persons behind them. That's a feature here, not a bug!:cool:
Welcome, and join the club!:toast:

Inthewater
04-07-2011, 06:17
Buffalo Trace is a "starter" bourbon?

Your opinion, of course, and I see what you could mean as far as flavor, but I bet I only know 5 other people that even know what the heck Buffalo Trace is or means.

Where, most everyone I know have heard of MM.

How about Wild Turkey 101 as a starter? That could offer a nice opposite to JBW and MM.

I find I am becoming more and more of a fan of WT101 as I progress into "Borubonian-hood", and around my parts, all bars have 3 types of bourbon.

Well (Beam 8 Star or Ten High), Maker's Mark and WT101.

:)

Also, welcome to SB Travis.

Askabutcher
04-07-2011, 08:51
Your opinion, of course, and I see what you could mean as far as flavor, but I bet I only know 5 other people that even know what the heck Buffalo Trace is or means.



I had no clue what Buffalo Trace was until two days ago when I signed up here.

IowaJeff
04-07-2011, 08:58
Buffalo Trace isn't really well known, but its a great price and not too difficult to find. I think it and the EWSB are great places to jump from JD, JB white, MM, etc.

Inthewater
04-07-2011, 09:09
I agree, great places to jump to.

Just semantics, I guess. I just wouldn't call Buffalo Trace "starter" bourbon.

I'd call it a good one to start with, after you are already hooked. :)

I am a bourbon newbie, for sure, and I started with interest because of MM and WT101.

My shelf has a EWSB, BT, WT101 and Four Roses Yellow right now.

That seems to be a good sampling (at quite low cost, around here anyway) of different flavors.

Yum, gonna have to have some when I get home. :D

Inthewater
04-07-2011, 09:16
In short, I think you enjoy a good, basic whiskey in JB White (try Old Crow Reserve -- with the black label -- by the way).


Haven't been to an actual liquor store yet, but this is not readily available in liquor departments in grocery stores.

I'd like to try it out, as it sounds like a good deal.

Have to swing by Central City in DSM and see if they have it.

travisbicks
04-07-2011, 10:03
if you want to compare JBW to a few things, I'd recommend Maker's Mark and Buffalo Trace. Those two bourbons are pretty easily found, somewhat cheap (I've seen them for 23.99 and 19.99 respectively in the last few days) and are good "starter" bourbons to compare to JBW.

Thanks, I can get both of those where I am in the UK. Wish I could get them for those prices though!


Okay, I'll take a shot -- and hope that you can read past the next line without feeling it's pejorative (because, it's not!).

Not at all! Thank you for your extensive reply, I found it extremely interesting and useful!


I'm puzzled, however, by your description of JB Black as 6 years old. Where are you located? I've never known a 6yo JB Black in the U.S. It's certainly changed ages and proofs many times over the years, but 7 years is the youngest I've ever seen or experienced.


In in Liverpool in the UK. I've attached a photo of the bottle for your interest :)
(http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=12060&stc=1&d=1302195647)

welcome to SB Travis.

Thank you file:///G:/DOCUME%7E1/J/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image001.gif

Inthewater
04-07-2011, 11:49
Hmm, weird. Is it an "Export Only" type of bottling?

Brisko
04-07-2011, 12:17
Hmm, weird. Is it an "Export Only" type of bottling?

Yes. We've talked about it a little here. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15219

squire
04-07-2011, 12:41
Hey Travis, welcome aboard. Drop by the chat room (The Gazebo) and join us.

TNbourbon
04-07-2011, 18:19
...In in Liverpool in the UK. I've attached a photo of the bottle for your interest :)...
I suspected you might not be in the U.S. (you can add your location to your forum profile -- see "User CP" -- but certainly don't have to), and had forgotten Gary's mention of its age in Canada.
Interesting -- thanks.
Even @ 6 years, the Black should be a more complex whiskey (and the slight additional proof also helps). But "complexity" in bourbon, to me, is different than "complexity" in, say, Scotch, so may well take some palate practice to appreciate. (With new oak only, a much larger slice of the taste comes from the barrel, with bourbon, than other whiskeys, I think.)
Many here enjoy a wide variety of whisk(e)y, and appreciate each for what it is. I'm sure you'll learn the same enjoyment.

Robmo
04-07-2011, 20:08
I find this thread extremely interesting and useful. I have to admit I don't like the 'medicinal flavor' that travis refers to...I currently happen to be experimenting with Buffalo Trace and JB Black. The Buffalo Trace tastes astringent to me, though not in an unenjoyable way. It has the same qualities as rosehip tea or a really tart grapefruit, IMO. ( I won't say anything about the JB Black for now because I plan to post some tasting notes later.)

Anyhow I think it is important as a 'fellow beginner' to experiment with as many different labels and tastes as possible and come to one's own conclusions and get to know one's own tastes. It's all to0 easy to read this board or other review sites and think "I should like this" or I shouldn't like that."

TNbourbon
04-07-2011, 20:44
...It's all to0 easy to read this board or other review sites and think "I should like this" or I shouldn't like that."
Absolutely right -- and I hope you find that we 'old-timers', while an opinionated bunch, have our own, distinctive tastes, and almost never universally agree about anything.
Enjoying bourbon/whiskey is almost by definition a personal thing. Frankly, most people don't even want to!:shocked: I'm never abashed or disappointed to find that a taster with whom I feel I've developed a kinship disagrees with me about a particular bottling. It isn't a contest, and no points are awarded for agreement. 'Winning' is in the enjoyment, and that is distinctly personal.
So, enjoy!

BMartin42
04-07-2011, 21:38
As a relative newbie another thing I have found is not to give up on a bottle too early. My palate changes nightly it seems. If you don't like something give it a few days and try again. I really didn't like JBB the first time I tried it. Now I see it as a decent value pour. Value is in the eye of the beholder. Don't be afraid to experiment!