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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Sep 2002
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    Toronto, Canada
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    9,127

    Jim Beam Black Label

    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.

    Gary

  2. #2

    Re: Jim Beam Black Label

    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).


  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Jim Beam Black Label

    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.

    Gary

  4. #4
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Japan, (American)
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    1,674

    Re: Jim Beam Black Label

    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.
    Ed

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Sep 1999
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    Re: Jim Beam Black Label

    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.

  6. #6
    Connoisseur
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    May 2003
    Location
    Virginia
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    621

    Re: Jim Beam Black Label

    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!?

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Jim Beam Black Label

    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.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Connoisseur
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    May 2003
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    Virginia
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    621

    Re: Jim Beam Black Label

    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 .

  9. #9
    Guru
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    Sep 2001
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    Pelham, AL
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    3,895

    Re: Jim Beam Black Label

    It is amazing that you were able to find that!

    Tim

  10. #10
    Taster
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Southeastern Indiana
    Posts
    68

    Re: Jim Beam Black Label

    Would the 8 yr 90 proof version be gazebo-worthy ?

    schlep

 

 

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