The finish is smoky and rich, and leaves my mouth watering for more.
The palate is thin and overly simple.
If you have been following our reviews lately, you’ve probably noticed our focus on exploring budget-friendly bourbons. Several of these have come from the Beam Distillery, including Old Granddad Bonded, Old Granddad 114, Jim Beam Distiller’s Cut and Jim Beam Black. Today we’ll look at another Beam bourbon friendly to most budgets – the Jim Beam Single Barrel.
Jim Beam Single Barrel can be considered a bridge-the-gap bourbon. By that I mean it is the bridge between the budget bourbons like Jim Beam White and Black, and the premium small batch bourbons of Knob Creek, Bakers, Bookers and Basil Hayden. From both the quality and price perspective, it sits squarely between these tiers. But oddly enough, you rarely see this bottle advertised or even talked about. So, let’s see what this one is about.
- Distilled, aged, and bottled by Beam-Suntory at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY
- Age: Non age stated
- Cask type: New American oak barrel
- Barrel number: JB7127 (remember that if you do not have the same barrel number as me, your bottle may taste different)
- Mash bill: 77% corn, 13% rye, 10% malted barley
- ABV: 47.5% (95 proof)
Nose: Oak, peanuts and cinnamon red hots dominate the nose. There’s hardly a hint of ethanol, despite the 95 proof. I can coax whispers of caramel and leather out of the glass, but they fade quickly.
Palate: The dram feels a bit thin. It’s a little smoky at first, but the initial flavor quickly disappears. Emerging in its place are flavors of peanuts and cinnamon, and little else other than a touch of leather. The flavors are dry and unbalanced with really no sweetness to speak of.
Finish: Smoky and rich, almost morphing into some tobacco. Peanuts and cinnamon continue to be the theme, and you get some lingering warmth. The finish is easily the best part of the dram; I just wish it were a bit longer.
Buying Recommendation: Worth buying a pour. This was an interesting dram to review. Each part of the tasting was almost a totally different ten-point tier in quality. The end result is solid enough, and definitely will appeal to fans of that nutty Beam house character. Typically found in the $30-35 range, Jim Beam Single Barrel does face some tough price point competition from bourbons like Henry McKenna 10 Year, Russell’s Reserve 10 Year, Eagle Rare, Four Roses Small Batch, and Michter’s US*1. Jim Beam Single Barrel displays a different character than these, and whether it deserves a purchase over them comes down to individual flavor preference. Overall, the Single Barrel is a nice easy sipper and for the price is a solid value.
At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92). This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys. Here is how the scale breaks down:
1-49: Varying degrees of bad
60-69: Better than average
90+: Truly Exceptional
All thoughts and opinions expressed are original to the author of the review or article. We are in no way paid to express any specific opinion about any specific company or product.