View Full Version : Jim Beam Black Label

05-15-2005, 04:34
Can someone explain the history of this brand?

When did Jim Beam first issue a black label version?

When it was first available, how old was it?

In recent years, before the change to the current label which advertises 8 years old, was Beam Black 8 years old or was it 7 years old or some other age?

The taste seems different to me today than a few years ago, it seemed more fruity then and now seems closer to the palate of Knob Creek.


05-15-2005, 07:32
Gary, I've identified (and purchased from existing stock around here) at least three renditions of Jim Beam Black: the current 8yo, 86 proof; the immediately previous 7yo, 90 proof (I have a single 750ml left, but I believe it is still in stock in some control states, which bought large supplies); and an earlier 101-month, 90 proof (of which I traded a couple at the Sampler last month -- an area store still has a handful of 1.75L bottles on a shelf). If there is an earlier version, I've not seen a bottle, or even a reference to it.
The earliest of these three has bottle markings indicating early '90s issue. My single 7yo indicates "'99", which I believe is pretty close to the changeover date to 86 proof (which makes the post-Jack Daniel's proof-lowering "We'll never 86 the 86" advertisement Jim Beam issued to chide JD laughable -- they'd 86'd the 90 just a few short years before).

05-15-2005, 07:56
Tim, many thanks. I think it is the 7 year old 90 proof I recall as being the best although I still enjoy Jim Beam Blacl Label.


05-15-2005, 10:25
I have a Jim Beam 8 year old that has a white label that I have yet to open. Japanese release.
The label is faded so I think it was on the shelf for quite a while.

05-15-2005, 14:07
I have often described this as the most fiddled-with brand in history. It was originally Beam's Black Label, i.e., "Beam's" not "Jim Beam." The policy used to be that only the white label flagship product could bear the name "Jim Beam." Every other product was "Beam's" something-or-other. There were other variations including my all time favorite, Beamero Tequila.

I'm not kidding.

The old "Beam's Black Label" was eight years old and ninety proof. Over the years they have fiddled with the proof, the age, the name and the bottle shape. When they finally decided to call it Jim Beam Black, it was the first time they had put the full "Jim Beam" name on any product other than the white label. The current incarnation was rolled out internationally before they did much with it here.

I don't know when they launched "Beam's Black Label" originally, but I know it was more than 20 years ago.

05-15-2005, 15:28
There were other variations including my all time favorite, Beamero Tequila.

I'm not kidding.

OMG!!! That's too funny for words!! You don't happen to have a label you can photograph or scan do you!? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

05-15-2005, 19:28
I looked and, unfortunately, no I don't. You have to understand that Beam was a very different company before the National Distillers acquisition. It was like Rome conquered Greece but Greek culture transformed Rome. Same thing. Beam acquired National but National's much broader portfolio transformed the Beam organization.

Shortly after the acquisition, I worked with Beam to create a merchandising manual, to show them and their distributors how to integrate the two portfolios at retail.

Here, for example, is the recommended Bourbon Section shelf set. Notice that the "top shelf" was limited to Maker's Mark, Gentleman Jack and Booker's. (The rest of the "Small Batch Collection" was yet to be introduced.) This was done in 1989.

05-16-2005, 06:04
Wow! It's amazing how the explosion in the high-end bourbons has changed that whole dynamic! Oh, I believe I've found the "Beamero Tequila"--take a look (http://www.kcinkc.com/beachbruce/db_public/view.php?id=42) . http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

05-16-2005, 16:22
It is amazing that you were able to find that!


05-16-2005, 18:24
Would the 8 yr 90 proof version be gazebo-worthy ?


05-17-2005, 20:23
Would the 8 yr 90 proof version be gazebo-worthy ?

Sure it is, why wouldn't you think so? Ten High is worthy. Neither would wow all in the group but it's nice to have things on hand to draw comparisons to. I've said it more than once, you don't always shoot at the top!