View Full Version : Opinions on Jim Beam Black?
What do you all think of Jim Beam Black? If it's nearly as good as the Regans say it is in the Bourbon Companion, then at $15 (in NYC) it's a bargain. How does it compare to Old Forester 80 proof (I can't find the BIB version where I live) or, say, Elijah Craig 12 yr.old (also under $20). Thanks!
Offhand, I would say the Jim Beam Black compares favorably to the Old Forester but is maybe not quite up to the quality of the Elijah Craig. It isn't a great bourbon (i.e., a Woodford Reserve), but it is much better than standard White Label Jim and usually a good value. It is on my regular "buy" list.
--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)
I've found that Jim Beam Black label shows just how good the Beam formula really is and I always pick it up whenever it's on sale. Old Forester 86 proof is my everyday pour so I can't sing its praises highly enough. You have to spend quite a bit more to get better. Elijah Craig is my favorite Heven Hill bottling. It's got a BIG barrel flavor that is honestly gotten. Delightfully complex glass of amusement.
Have Shotglass. Will Travel.
As for me, Jim Beam Black is a matter of taste. Lots of folks like it, but I do not. I find the rosinous taste in it that I have also found in other Beam and all Ancient Age products. My guess is that this taste has something to do with the yiest that Beam uses, or a combination of the yiest and some other fermenting conditions. Don't get me wrong, I consider it drinkable, just not on the top half of my list. But the good thing is that Beam Black is readily available in 200 and 375 ml bottles, so trying a sample won't set you back much.
Now for the crazy part, I adore Bookers. I know, I know, it is essencially the same stock, with hand selected barrels bottled at 126 proof. Perhaps at the highter proof levels the taste of the component I find contrary to my taste is masked. It has a wonderful big oaky taste, combined with just the right amount of sweetness (in a good way), and a powerful punch you will get with few other whiskies. (The $ 50+ price does keep me from appreciating it more often, even after taking into account the higher octane level, Bookers is ~2 1/2 times more expensive than Beam Black) I also like the Beam Rye's, but that is another story.
The Elijah Craig 12 is quite nice, the 18 is nicer but a little different. HH should get double credit, once for creating and offering these great whiskies, and again for keeping value and the customer in mind.
Mark A. Mason, El Dorado, Arkansas
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