I refer you to New to Straight Bourbon: Bourbon Recommendations.
I would put the worst bourbon one my list up against Beam black, anyday.
I can think of a number of bourbons under $20 I would buy first. First and foremost, Weller 107 which tastes better IME and offers a considerable proof advantage (i.e., more whiskey for the money after dilution to, say 86 proof). Heaven Hill bonded (regular or green label 6 years) offers a better taste IMO, so does Very Old Barton. True, these are regional names, but one can stock up after a visit to bourbon country. VOB is almost half the price as I recall to Beam Black. Beam Black is good whiskey but a number here find its anise-like aftertaste not to their liking. Of course, taste is personal, but these are just some ideas. Also, I should mention bonded Rittenhouse rye, which is really a bourbon by another name (in that rye is the flip side to bourbon, both are the same thing in different intensities of the rye taste) and is a superb value. Not sure what Ancient Age 10 Star is going for these days. And how can I forget Evan Williams, no longer marked 7 years but still an excellent dram. Maybe I just have the taste for the mid- to lower-range HH products but to me they represent an old tradition of excellent quality country whiskey, as does VOB. In the Beam line, I like Knob Creek but the others seem of a piece in the anise-like character which is one I find hard to like.
I agree with the poster who said you should broaden your horizons. Any recommendations we would give you would, in most cases, be based on what we already know you like. No one wants to insult your choices. JBB is an OK bourbon, but in all honesty it isn't the be all end all, and neither is Makers. Incidentally if you really dig on JBB, if you haven't already, give Booker's a try. I think you will like it.
I like Jim Beam Black a lot. It probably is the best value in the Jim Beam portfolio. A case can be made for Old Grand-Dad BIB, but that's a completely different taste profile. Of the various expressions of the Jim Beam formula, Black Label is easily the best value.
But for the best value in a bourbon, period, I would go first with Weller Special Reserve, Weller Antique or Weller 12, Elijah Craig 12, certainly Very Old Barton BIB which, admittedly, requires a trip to Kentucky, and probably a couple of other things.
But I have nothing but good things to say about Jim Beam Black and it has been a favorite of mine for years. Its wide availability is a big plus.
I will say this to stevecole78, by way of a possible explanation for some of the posts he's gotten in response to his posts in this thread. All of the products you have mentioned favorably are owned by Beam Global Spirits & Wine. From time to time, online discussion groups like this one are visited by touts for some company or another who pose as ordinary consumers and talk up their company's products. We don't mind producer representatives here. We welcome them, but it's good practice to be straight and identify your vested interest. I'm not accusing you of anything, just pointing out why some people may seem a little bit skeptical about your enthusiasm for the products of just one producer.
Last edited by cowdery; 10-01-2007 at 21:05.
Col. Charles K. "Crotchety" Cowdery
"Whiskey Don't Keep."
I finally got around to picking up some tamarind candy at my local Asian supermarket, a soft candy similar (probably) to what you had. Indeed there is something Beam blackish about it, and in a way it reminds me of OT from National Distillers (also very plummy). I also bought some tamarind juice at a Hispanic grocer which I plan on using in an experimental whiskey sour, per a post in the "Whiskey Sour-ing" thread.
I find ethnic groceries inspiring as sources for new foods to cook and taste (obviously), but also as sources of new and interesting candies, cocktail ingredients, and taste bud touchstones for tasting whiskey, beer, rum, etc. As you said, I always wonder what else I am missing. I like to have a lot of taste referents for anything I consume.
Anyway, thanks for the post.
JBB is quite cheap here in Montgomery County, Md., as I picked up a 1-liter bottle for under $17. I'll keep it for mixers, as I keep BH for those who would otherwise drink scotch. For sippin' purposes, however, Jim Beam Black is just too dull.
Gotta say guys, Jim Beam black is one of the few beam bourbons I like. Its not bad for a no nonsense sipping.