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JayMonster
03-05-2012, 17:09
I have searched both here and other spots, but could not find this. Yes, I know the export JBB is "triple aged" 6 years, but I could not find anything on this old label version of Black claiming 7 years and 90 proof rather than the typical 86.

Anyone familiar with this? Did JBB used to be a 7 year product? Or is this an export that somehow made it into a US store?

Enoch
03-05-2012, 17:19
I don't know about this specifically but I think Beam has varied the Black over the years. I have several bottles of "Beam's Black Label" which is 90 proof. One is 101 months and the other is 8 years. So there may have been a 7 year at some point. I also have some jim Beam Reserve which has a black label and is 7 years but it is 80 proof and taste a lot like Basil. Can you post a picture?

JayMonster
03-05-2012, 19:15
On the Left, the 750 ml. bottle looking more like I expected it to, on the right, the 1 liter bragging 7 years and 90 proof.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-FtVP43jziAI/T1VPp_P6uKI/AAAAAAAABwA/aUs_AZ71J2Y/s800/2012-03-05_18-39-16_665.jpg

Bmac
03-06-2012, 06:31
Am i reading that right? 29 bux!?! That,s odd sitting next to the 8 yr with 23 bux.

JayMonster
03-06-2012, 07:22
Am i reading that right? 29 bux!?! That,s odd sitting next to the 8 yr with 23 bux.

It is a little hard to tell by the picture, but the $23.99 is a 750 ml but the $29.99 is a 1 Liter bottle.

Plus the shop owner had no idea that they were any different, other than he sells a "lot more" 750 than 1L bottles (though it doesn't seem he sells much of either considering they are both older labels).

Bmac
03-06-2012, 08:23
It is a little hard to tell by the picture, but the $23.99 is a 750 ml but the $29.99 is a 1 Liter bottle.
Oh snap! you're right. I didn't realize the larger bottle. :)

It may not be the best rule of thumb (especially for Beam products) but: "They don't make'm like they used to." Some brands up their game to get more sales; maybe this is one of those times and that 7 year is actually good. It's a roll of the dice to be sure and Jim Beam, though stable, isn't known as a phenom product.

Brisko
03-06-2012, 08:46
I don't know about this specifically but I think Beam has varied the Black over the years. I have several bottles of "Beam's Black Label" which is 90 proof. One is 101 months and the other is 8 years. So there may have been a 7 year at some point. I also have some jim Beam Reserve which has a black label and is 7 years but it is 80 proof and taste a lot like Basil. Can you post a picture?

Yeah, they've fiddled with the Black Label a lot. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the progression was something like this: 101 months/90 proof, 8/90, 7/90, and 8/86. I don't know if the Reserve belongs in this bunch or not, I've never seen it. Interesting that it tastes like BH.

Bmac
03-06-2012, 08:51
Yeah, they've fiddled with the Black Label a lot. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the progression was something like this: 101 months/90 proof, 8/90, 7/90, and 8/86. I don't know if the Reserve belongs in this bunch or not, I've never seen it. Interesting that it tastes like BH.
I think there was another one called "Double Aged" with no actual age statement. I think that was last year's label.

Brisko
03-06-2012, 08:59
I think there was another one called "Double Aged" with no actual age statement. I think that was last year's label.

That's the current label, except that it has the age statement. The NAS versions are international only.

Bmac
03-06-2012, 09:01
The NAS versions are international only.
Wow, I think I can actually pick those up at a store near here for about 19 bux. Although, I don't think the juice is any better ;)

JayMonster
03-06-2012, 10:30
I found info in the "launch" of the 7/90, which ocurred in 1997.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-07-30/business/9707300297_1_unit-of-fortune-brands-bourbon-drinkers-car-corp

According to the one thread I did find on a similar topic for Beam Black, it was changed over to 86 proof around 1999 or 2000.

So I guess that places this within that 3 year window.

JayMonster
03-06-2012, 13:44
Actually, after reading this article again, I get a kick out of the fact that when they relaunched Jim Beam Black in 1997, that this was supposed to be targeted at the "Upmarket" bourbon buyer.

While certainly not targeted at the Heaven Hill, Evan Williams, Ten High segment of the market, I think "Upmarket" might be a bit overstated.

JayMonster
03-07-2012, 09:33
So, I decided to crack this bottle open. And I learned a few things.

1. Higher ABV does not guarantee a richer taste experience than lower of essentially the same product.

2. Older bottlings does not necessarily mean better.

3. The difference between 7 year old and 8 year old Beam black shows exactly what an extra year in the barrrel can do for a product.

or

3A. Beam picked up their game between this older release and now.

There was no mistaking the fact that this was JBB. It is just that other than the higher ABV of the older 7 yr bottling, everything else seems better in the newer 8 year "Double Aged" 86 proof bottle. A better mouth feel. Richer and better taste, right down to the finish. With recent bottlings, the finish is sort of like Black Licorice, whereas the older came across more like an anise extract. Generally the same flavoring, but with a more alcohol and incomplete taste.

Perhaps I set my expectations a bit too high when I read that article I linked previously. Thinking that that this 7 yr 90 proof was Beams attempt to lure "Upmarket" drinkers, that they would have come out swinging with something really good. Instead, it is more of an explanation as to why they have continued to "tweak" it over the years.

It is certainly drinkable. But will I go grab the other remaining bottles? Nope. There is simply no reason. If I want Jim Beam Black, I will go with the 86 Proof, if I need something with more alcohol, I will go elsewhere.

Brisko
03-07-2012, 09:58
Nice comparisons.

By the way, I think "upmarket" probably just means "stepping up from White label." As opposed to "entry level."

Enoch
03-07-2012, 22:32
So, I decided to crack this bottle open. And I learned a few things.

1. Higher ABV does not guarantee a richer taste experience than lower of essentially the same product.

2. Older bottlings does not necessarily mean better.

3. The difference between 7 year old and 8 year old Beam black shows exactly what an extra year in the barrrel can do for a product.

or

3A. Beam picked up their game between this older release and now.

There was no mistaking the fact that this was JBB. It is just that other than the higher ABV of the older 7 yr bottling, everything else seems better in the newer 8 year "Double Aged" 86 proof bottle. A better mouth feel. Richer and better taste, right down to the finish. With recent bottlings, the finish is sort of like Black Licorice, whereas the older came across more like an anise extract. Generally the same flavoring, but with a more alcohol and incomplete taste.

Perhaps I set my expectations a bit too high when I read that article I linked previously. Thinking that that this 7 yr 90 proof was Beams attempt to lure "Upmarket" drinkers, that they would have come out swinging with something really good. Instead, it is more of an explanation as to why they have continued to "tweak" it over the years.

It is certainly drinkable. But will I go grab the other remaining bottles? Nope. There is simply no reason. If I want Jim Beam Black, I will go with the 86 Proof, if I need something with more alcohol, I will go elsewhere.


I'm surprised because I have several bottles of 101/90 and 8/90 from the late 80s to early 90s and find them to be much better than JBB today. They don't have the funky yeast taste that modern JB products have.