Recently I was lucky enough to join the Toronto Whisky Society in the first of what we hope is a constant amount of tastings.
In order to give everyone a shot at coming out, the entry “fee” was to bring a bottle that was NAS/10 years that was at least half full.
The following reviews are from said tasting, in which I was able to take my time, take pictures that don’t just show off one part of my apartment, and ensure my palate was thoroughly rinsed (with water) between each whiskey.
Jim Beam bourbons and I have had a pretty good run up so far. Ignoring their craft brands (Basil’s, Booker’s, Baker’s, and Knob Creek), I started reviewing with the Black, gave it a second chance, have tried the flavoured ones, the Devil’s Cut, and have yet to try the White. If I ever had the chance to slowly climb up the way a distillery wants me to, this would be it.
That and I can’t get their bourbons half the time and live in Canada where the prices are already “it started”, so the price raise of Bookers didn’t enrage me all that much.
Great, another reason for bourbon fans to not like me.
Suffice to say, when I had the chance to try the next step up, Jim Beam Bonded, I jumped at the chance. Or rather waited for the chance. Mostly just waited until I could try it.
This whiskey is Bottled in Bond, which refers to an act passed in 1897 that lays out strict guidelines of quality in order to use it. It’s something Canada would do if we didn’t think alcohol was the Devil.
Thus this is bottled at 100 proof (US style), aged at least 4 years in a federally bonded warehouse, and produced in a single distillery season at a single distillery.
So, let’s see what Jim Beam is like when it’s bonded.
Price: $32.95 CAD at the LCBO… wait, really? Wow, maybe they’ll stock this all the time and change their ways and we’ll have a proper alcohol…. oh, it’s limited time. Nevermind, LCBO hasn’t changed.
Colour: 2.5Y 7/6
Nose: Corn, linen, orange, caramel, smoke, potato
Initial nose is mostly corn, however given a few minutes it ends up with a clean note on it. Even some earth and potato notes. This acts more like a Scotch than a bourbon, with the notes not being 100% distinct, however being varied and melding into one another.
Quite nice nose.
Taste: Caramel, caraway seeds, milk, malted chocolate
Simple but effective taste. It’s an odd taste. Each flavour is distinct.
But do they work together? Somewhat. There’s a seed aspect that doesn’t mesh well with the rest.
Kinda like my report cards: “TOModera should be doing better, but every so often doesn’t play well with others”
Finish: Cereal, caramel, straw, almond, salt
Lots of cereal notes. Varying cereal notes. The caramel, almond, and salt notes are the most prominent and easily discernible. The cereal? It needs to sit up and pay attention, it’s going back and forth with straw.
Conclusion: This is really easy to sip on. An easy buy for an everyday sipper. It has just enough complexity to be interesting. Honestly it competes with some other base level entries from Scotch whiskies in those areas, and I’d consider buying it over a Laphroaig 10 or a Clynelish 14.
Does it have issues? Well, yes. The nose is sporadic, the taste has a seedy underbelly, and the finish isn’t quite there. But on the whole? It’s tasty. Put it in your face.
Bourbon review #183, Kentucky review #115, Whiskey Network review #964