Pros: Much more mellow, should mix very well, easily consumable over ice
Cons: Too young to consume neat, you can find an Irish Whiskey about the same price
BOTTOM LINE: JIM BEAM BLACK is a successful attempt to create a sipping bourbon that will compete with Irish Whiskey, Scotch, and many of the American Single Barrel whiskies. Aged 8 years in charred oak barrels, Jim Beam Black is a close cousin to the original Jim Beam Bourbon. Black is smoother, can be consumed easily on the rocks, and gives the consumer a chance to actually taste the sweet oak characteristics of this bourbon.
Jim Beam has been serving the world bourbon for over 200 years. In 2002, Jim Beam put its 9 millionth barrel of Jim Beam Bourbon Sour Mash into the rack for aging. Jim Beam uses a portion of a prior run to create the yeast for the new run. This is where the sour mash comes from on their label, as this process is much like how sourdough bread is made.
The Original Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon meets the requirements for being bourbon by creating its mash with over 51% corn and it is aged 4 years. The national requirement for bourbon is only 2. If 4 years makes the worlds best-selling bourbon, what will 8 years of aging get us? Thats what Jim Beam did with their Jim Beam Black when it created what it calls its Super-Premium brand.
Jim Beam Black recently scored a 93 at the Beverage Tasting Institute. In comparison, Makers Mark was 91 and Gentleman Jack was an 82. Jack Daniels and Crown Royal rounded out the bottom with 81s. Ive tasted all of these whiskies, so I am not sure if Jim Beam Black is a clear winner against Makers Mark or Gentleman Jack. Depending on your palate, you might argue that the numbers could be easily reversed.
At The International Wine and Spirit Competition (2001), Jim Beam Black only received a commendation for its performance while Jim Beam received a Bronze Medal.
Jim Beam Black pours a shade darker than Jim Beam and Johnnie Walker Black. It is a deep gold, amber color. This is most likely attributed to the extra years spent in the charred oak.
I cut my Black with some water to release the aromas. I could not get a good read straight out of the bottle, but about 25% water really did the trick. Jim Beam Black is actually quite pleasant this way with hints of caramel, fields of grain, and the oak. The predominant aroma is the sweetness if some water is added.
Like the nose, Jim Beam Black is slightly sweet at first. There is also a charred spiciness that will be quite pleasant to any bourbon/whiskey drinker in the America. It is not smoky like a Scotch, more of an American charcoal taste.
Jim Beam Black leaves a burnt, sour taste in your mouth. The actual taste is average as the most predominant sense after I swallow is the burn from my throat through my chest. I do not enjoy a burning sensation after drinking; I prefer a warming sensation. Even cut with water, the Jim Beam Black heat up your throat and chest temporarily. Note: Jim Beam Black is slightly more powerful than Jim Beam at 86 Proof.
Jim Beam Black is actually a great contender with other whiskies as it comes in for under $15 for a 750ml. I got a great price as a military member, so you might have to shop the deals to find this at that price. I found this at a local liquor store for around $18. Compared to getting Power's Gold Label Irish Whiskey, perhaps this wasnt such a great deal.
The Black is much better than its original 4yr in the White Label. Jim Beam Black is definitely consumable on the rocks. I need to let this get a little watered down before I can appreciate the age and the flavor. I have not tried this with any mixers other than the H20, so this will probably go even better with Coke or Lemonade than Jack Daniels or Jim Beam.
Thanks to Bruguru for getting this link up so quickly.