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.