Jim Beam Black is the first big step-up in quality from the original Jim Beam White Label. Originally labeled with an 8 year old age statement, JB Black now comes to us as “Extra Aged.” In a world where distillers are dropping age statements left and right, there’s some comfort in knowing the quality in this bottle is left largely intact. Having tasted JB Black 8 year before, I can say the flavor profile is very similar and the difference is probably unnoticeable to most. So, how does it taste?
(Note: A review sample was provided by Beam-Suntory.) On the nose, I get sweet roasted corn, vanilla, soft caramel and a bit of oak. The body is a bit thinner than I’d like. Taste-wise, there’s that sweet corn note I get on all Jim Beam bourbons, along with sweet oak, caramel, and creamy vanilla. The finish is medium in length, slightly sweet then turns a little dry.
At a recent gathering at my house, I led some friends through a Jim Beam tasting, which included Jim Beam White Label, Jim Beam 7 year, Jim Beam Black and Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 year. Where I thought Signature Craft would have won hands down, the majority of votes went to Jim Beam Black. It’s a bit more robust than JB White Label, and provides slightly more “bite” with it’s 43% abv versus the 40% abv the White Label provides. A great “everyday” sipper, especially if you like the Jim Beam style of bourbon.