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If You've Had... the Jim Beam Edition

Posted on by Eric Burke

I've always envisioned this site as a place where people can come to learn. Learn a little history. Learn a little about what they like. Learn what they should check out (whether it is bourbon or not). And ultimately learn enough to make informed decisions about where they put their money.

Of course, I write tasting notes. And tasting notes are a great way for you to get an idea of my feelings on a particular whiskey. Or at least, an impression of how I felt about something on a particular day. And cumulatively, they can certainly tell you a lot about the types of things that I'm reminded of. But they aren't always a great way to compare whiskeys one to another unless I happen to be reviewing a couple at a time.

To that end, for the last year and a half or so, I've been running a series on the blog that I call "If you've had...". The setup is like this: "If you've had Whiskey A then Whiskey B is..." hotter, spicier, sweeter, more floral, etc. Each section is written as compared to one of the whiskeys in the lineup. So if you've had that one, but not the others, then that section will be of the most use to you. Remember there are no value judgments here. You get to decide based on what you know of Whiskey A if Whiskey B sounds like something you'd want to try.

This is the sixth entry in the series and it is by far the biggest. We did this over the course of four nights and the spit cup was our best friend (seriously, each night used 4-8 ounces of whiskey, we'd be dead otherwise). Tonight we are discussing a large portion of the Jim Beam line of products. I chose seven bourbons that are labeled with the Jim Beam name. Jim Beam White Label, Jim Beam Black, Jim Beam Double Oak, Jim Beam Devil's Cut, Jim Beam Bonded, a local store pick of Jim Beam Single Barrel and Jim Beam Choice. Normal caveats with the Single Barrel, your mileage may vary. Especially since this is a store pick. I included the Choice even though it has been discontinued because maybe that was your only exposure to Jim Beam and you've been wondering if you were missing anything. I'm ordering these by proof. Please remember these are notes as compared to one another

If you've had Jim Beam White Label then...

Jim Beam Choice is: a little fruitier on the nose. The mouth shows less dried grain, more bubblegum, and a touch more oak. The finish is a little longer and has a touch more baking spice.

Jim Beam Black is: very similar on the nose, maybe a touch sweeter. The mouth shows fewer cereal grains, but more spice. The finish shows more oak tannins.  

Jim Beam Double Oak is: sweeter on the nose showing less dried grain. The mouth shows more cocoa, oak, and cinnamon. The finish shows more cinnamon and oak.

Jim Beam Devil's Cut: shows less grain and more spice on the nose. The mouth is fruitier with more baking spice. The finish shows less grain.

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal on the nose. Similar, but with less pronounced grain and more cinnamon and oak. The mouthfeel is more viscous and the finish is warmer and longer. 

Jim Beam Bonded is: fuller on the nose showing more pronounced fruit gum and spice. The mouth is more viscous and sweeter, showing less grain and more spice. the finish is warmer with more spice.

If you've had Jim Beam Choice then...

Jim Beam White Label: shows more grain on the nose, mouth, and finish. 

Jim Beam Black is: sweeter on the nose, showing more caramel. The mouth shows more baking spice and oak tannins. The finish features more oak and spice. 

Jim Beam Double Oak is: a little fruitier on the nose and shows more oak. The mouth shows less dried grain and more almond and oak. The finish is warmer, longer and has more oak.

Jim Beam Devil's Cut is: very similar on the nose, maybe showing it's proof with a little more alcohol. The mouth is more peppery and shows more baking spice. The finish is warmer and longer.

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal on the nose, showing less grain. The mouth shows more cinnamon and clove. The finish is hotter with more intense flavor. 

Jim Beam Bonded: shows more caramel and spice on the nose. The mouthfeel is more viscous and the mouth showcases more intense flavors of spice, chocolate, and leather. The finish is warmer with more spice and oak flavors. 

If you've had Jim Beam Black then...

Jim Beam White Label is: very similar on the nose. The mouth shows more grain and fruit. The finish shows less oak and more grain. 

Jim Beam Choice is: showing more cereal on the nose. The mouth shows more mint and grain, but less oak. The finish is more grain-forward.

Jim Beam Double Oak is: sweeter on the nose showing more maple. The mouth is sweeter, with more vanilla and caramel. the finish has less oak and is sweeter.

Jim Beam Devil's Cut is: similar on the nose, though it shows a few more herbal notes. The mouth has more "burn" as it shows off it's higher proof. It also shows more fruit and grain. The finish has more baking spice, but less heat.

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal on the nose. The mouth has more ripe fruit and caramel. The finish has more concentrated flavors. 

Jim Beam Bonded is: sweeter on the nose showing more vanilla and less oak. The mouth is less fruity and nuttier with more cinnamon. The finish follows the mouth. 

If you've had Jim Beam Double Oak then...

Jim Beam White Label is: more grain forward on the nose mouth and finish.  

Jim Beam Choice: shows less caramel and almond on the nose. The mouth shows more grain and less oak and almond. the finish is less spicy with less oak.

Jim Beam Black is: less sweet and oakier on the nose. the mouth is drier with more oak. The finish shows more oak. 

Jim Beam Devil's Cut is: drier with more grain on the nose. The mouth shows more baking spices and oak. The finish is drier, showing more dark chocolate. 

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal and sweeter on the nose. The mouth is sweeter, showing more baking spice and caramel. It has a fuller finish with more concentrated flavors. 

Jim Beam Bonded is: shows more fruit gum and spice on the nose. The mouth shows more grain and less chocolate. The finish is spicier with more grain and peanut.

If you've had Jim Beam Devil's Cut then...

Jim Beam White Label is: more grain-forward on the nose. The mouth is softer and more grain-forward. The finish is gentler with more grain and less oak. 

Jim Beam Choice is: very similar on the nose. The mouth is more gentle showing more grain. The finish also shows more grain and is more bitter.

Jim Beam Black is: fruitier on the nose. The mouth shows more oak and the finish is warmer, oakier and a bit more bitter.  

Jim Beam Double Oak is: sweeter on the nose, showing more caramel and vanilla. The mouth is sweeter with more grain notes. The finish is sweeter showing more grain and less heat. .

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal and sweeter on the nose. The mouth is hotter, spicier and sweeter on the mouth. the finish is longer, warmer and more herbal.

Jim Beam Bonded is: fruitier and sweeter on the nose. The mouth is spicier and hotter with more peanut. The finish is hotter showing more peanut. 

If you've had Jim Beam Single Barrel then...

Jim Beam White Label is: less complex with less sweetness on the nose. The mouth is less sweet and shows much more dried grain. The mouthfeel is thinner and the finish shows more grain and mint.  

Jim Beam Choice is: drier, showing more oak and (strangely) more grain on the nose. The mouth has more mint and grain. The finish is gentler. 

Jim Beam Black is: similar on the nose, though showing some green apple and more oak. The mouth has more baking spice, peanut, and oak. The finish shows more peanut and oak. 

Jim Beam Double Oak: shows more chocolate on the nose. the mouth shows more peanut and oak. The finish follows the mouth. 

Jim Beam Devil's Cut is: a touch oakier on the nose. The mouth shows more green apple and oak. The finish has more baking spice.

Jim Beam Bonded is: showing less oak and more bubblegum. the mouth is hotter with more baking spice. The finish is warmer with more cinnamon red hot candies.

If you've had Jim Beam Bonded then...

Jim Beam White Label is: grassier on the nose with some more mint and grain. The mouthfeel is thinner, showing more grain. The finish is shorter with more bitter grain flavors.

Jim Beam Choice is: drier on the nose. The mouthfeel is thinner and the flavors more delicate. The finish is gentler and shows more grain. 

Jim Beam Black is: drier on the nose, showing more oak. The mouthfeel is thinner and less sweetness and more oak. The finish shows more oak and less peanut. 

Jim Beam Double Oak is: sweeter on the nose, showing more maple. The mouth is sweeter, showing chocolate notes. The finish is sweeter and has less peanut. 

Jim Beam Devil's Cut is: drier on the nose. The mouth is drier with less spice and peanut. The finish is drier with less peanut.

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal and sweeter. The mouth is sweeter, with a thinner mouthfeel. The finish is sweeter with more herbal notes. 


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If You've Had...Heaven Hill Edition

Posted on by Eric Burke

I like learning things. I'm sure you do too, otherwise, why would you waste your time learning about bourbon? One of the best ways to really learn the differences between bourbons is to compare them head-to-head. That's the theory behind the If You've Had... series. 

In case you missed it last time, the setup is like this: "If you've had Whiskey A then Whiskey B is..." hotter, spicier, sweeter, more floral, etc. Each section is written as compared to one of the whiskeys. So if you've had that one, but not the others, then that section will be of the most use to you. Remember there are no value judgments here. You get to decide based on what you know of Whiskey A if Whiskey B sounds like something you'd want to try.

Up tonight is the family of Heaven Hill-branded bourbons. Heaven Hill Black is a three-year-old bourbon bottled at 80 proof, Heaven Hill Green is a six-year-old bourbon bottled at 90 proof, and Heaven Hill White is a six-year-old Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon bottled at 100 proof. So without further ado, I present the fifth installment of the If You’ve Had… series. 

If you've had Heaven Hill Black, then...

Heaven Hill Green is: similar on the nose, but with less grain influence. It shows less grain in the mouth but has more heat, mint, baking and pepper spices, and oak. The finish is longer, warmer, and shows more oak.

Heaven Hill White is: much sweeter on the nose, showing much more maple and caramel and less grain. The mouth is much spicier, showing both baking and pepper spices. It also presents more fruit and oak. The finish is longer, warmer, and sweeter with more baking spice and wintergreen.

If you've had Heaven Hill Green, then...

Heaven Hill Black is: similar on the nose, but showing more grain and much less oak influence. The mouth shows much younger: less oak, more grain, with a certain new-make quality about it. The finish is smoother and softer with more lingering grain and cotton candy.

Heaven Hill White is: sweeter on the nose, showing more caramel. The mouth is similar, though sweeter showing bubble gum that the green doesn't have. The finish is warmer and shows more spice.

If you've had Heaven Hill White, then...

Heaven Hill Black is: similar on the nose, but showing more grain influence. The mouth shows more grain bitterness. The finish is smoother, softer and more gentle.

Heaven Hill Green is: slightly less sweet on the nose. It is slightly softer on the mouth and slightly less sweet. The finish is sweeter but less spicy.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

If You've Had... Bulleit Bourbon Edition

Posted on by Eric Burke

My Goodness! I can't believe that it has been almost a year since I last did one of these! I love these posts. They are just the most fun to do the tastings for. And if you like them too, then I have good news: I've got two more for sure on the editorial calendar and another two that will depend on the availability of products. So without further ado, I present the fourth installment of the If You’ve Had… series. 

In case you missed it last time, the setup is like this: "If you've had Whiskey A then Whiskey B is..." hotter, spicier, sweeter, more floral, etc. Each section is written as compared to one of the whiskeys. So if you've had that one, but not the others then that section will be of the most use to you. Remember there are no value judgments here. You get to decide based on what you know of Whiskey A if Whiskey B sounds like something you'd want to try.

Up tonight is the Bulleit Bourbon family. Bulleit Bourbon, Bulleit 10-Year-Old Bourbon, and Bulleit Barrel-Strength Bourbon

If you’ve had Bulleit Bourbon then…

Bulleit 10 Year is: less floral and drier on the nose. The mouth has more complex flavor with more peppery heat, baking spice, and cocoa notes. The finish is longer with more baking spice.

Bulleit Barrel-Strength is: similar on the nose though more concentrated while showing more baking spice and oak. It shows more floral notes in the mouth and is hotter due to the higher alcohol content. The finish is longer, warmer and shows more floral and baking spice.

If you’ve had Bulleit 10 Year Old Bourbon then…

Bulleit Bourbon: shows more cinnamon candies and less cocoa on the nose. The mouth is much less floral with a finish that is slightly shorter and less spicy.

Bulleit Barrel-Strength is: sweeter and less floral on the nose but shows more cinnamon. The mouth is sweeter and hotter with less oak presence. The finish is longer and warmer.

If you’ve had Bulleit Barrel Strength Bourbon then…

Bulleit Bourbon is: similar on the nose, though it does show more black tea. The mouth is much less hot, with less spice but seems sweeter because of that. The finish is shorter. 

Bulleit 10 Year is: Oakier on the nose. The mouth has less heat but more oak and cocoa notes. The finish is shorter, with less heat, but is more floral. 


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

Buffalo Trace Store pick: Westport Whiskey & Wine

Posted on by Eric Burke

Back in September, I met up with a fellow blogger for his first trip to the Party Source. It's in the Kentucky part of the Cincinnati Metro area, and he'd just moved to Ohio. We'd never met in real life before, and I'm always up for a bit of whiskey shopping, so I was more than willing to make the drive from Louisville to Cincinnati.

And boy did I fill my cart. I didn't get anything too special, but everything I did get was unavailable here in Minnesota, so that made it special to me. I must have bought like eight to ten bottles of bourbon. I doubt I spent more than $12 on most of them. It was fun. A lot of chatting. A bunch of shopping. Good times had all around. 

So of course, after heading back to Louisville, we decided that since we were driving right past Westport Whiskey and Wine that, well, we'd probably better stop in. I mean we are right there. It'd be a shame to have to drive all the way back over here, wouldn't it? (Not going to mention we were visiting a friend later in the week that lives about 15 minutes from there...)

After we had convinced ourselves that this was, indeed, the best course of action we stopped in and took a look around. WW&W is not a huge mega-store. It's a nice sized store that has a decent selection and has had a private selection of one sort or another, every time I visit. I can't remember what we actually went in looking for, but I'm pretty sure we didn't find it. What I found instead was a liter bottle of a store pick Buffalo Trace. I hadn't picked up a Buffalo Trace for a while, so when they offered me a sample, I was pretty sure that I was going to buying it if it was at all good. And it was. It was very good. 

Or well as good as anything can be in a tiny disposable plastic shot glass. 

Buffalo Trace Private Selection, Westport Whiskey & Wine

Purchase Info: $37.99 for a one-liter bottle at Westport Whiskey and Wine, Louisville, KY.

Details: Barrel # 111, 45% ABV

Nose: Cinnamon sugar, crisp apples,and almonds.

Mouth: Fresh Green apple, almond, and baking spices rounded out by vanilla and oak.

Finish: Warm with lingering vanilla and apple. 

Thoughts: This is a tasty variation on the Buffalo Trace flavor profile. This is a good example of why I like store picks. 

If you've had standard Buffalo Trace, then the store pick is...

Fruitier on the nose with more prominent cinnamon. The mouth is softer with more fruit and spice, but with less pronounced almond notes. The finish is a little warmer. 


Have I told you about BourbonGuyGifts.com? It is one of the ways you can support the blog and still get something back. I hand-craft items from barrel bungs, barrel staves and more to make coat racks, candle holders, tasting journals, drink coasters and more. Check it out, won't you? 

If You've Had... Heaven Hill Bonded Bourbons edition

Posted on by Eric Burke

Tonight I finally get around to presenting the If You’ve Had… that inspired the whole idea, Heaven Hill’s line of bonded bourbons. Heaven Hill has a lot of bourbons in their bonded stable. I believe I got all of the readily available ones (even if only in Kentucky). But in any case, there are enough that these were compared to one another over the course of a few days. 

As a refresher, the setup is like this: "If you've had Whiskey A then Whiskey B is..." hotter, spicier, sweeter, more floral, etc. Each section is written as compared to one of the whiskeys. So if you've had that one, but not the others then that section will be of the most use to you. Remember there are no value judgments here. You get to decide based on what you know of Whiskey A if Whiskey B sounds like something you'd want to try.

Up tonight are the ones I had on hand, or could buy locally, including: Evan Williams Bottled in Bond, JTS Brown Bottled in Bond, JW Dant Bottled in Bond, Heaven Hill (6 year old) Bottled in Bond, Old Fitzgerald (wheated) Bottled in Bond and Henry McKenna (10 year old, single barrel) Bottled in Bond. Your mileage may vary on that last one being a single barrel product.

If you’ve had Evan Williams Bottled in Bond then…

JTS Brown is: more grain forward on the nose, mouth and finish. The finish is more bitter. 

JW Dant is: more caramel forward on the nose. It shows more caramel and floral notes in the mouth and the finish is more tannic.

Heaven Hill 6 year Bottled in Bond is: fruitier on the nose. It’s sweeter, warmer and more complex in the mouth. And has a longer and warmer finish.

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond is: more floral on the nose. It is softer and sweeter on entry, but hotter and rougher on the finish.

Henry McKenna 10 year Bottled in Bond is: hotter and shows more oak on the nose. It is sweeter, hotter, fruitier and shows more oak in the mouth and has more oak on the finish.

If you’ve had JTS Brown Bottled in Bond then…

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond is: oakier on the nose. It’s breadier and sweeter, showing more vanilla and caramel in the mouth and shows more oak on the finish.

JW Dant is: very caramel forward by comparison. It is sweeter, more caramel/toffee forward and hotter in the mouth. 

Heaven Hill 6 year Bottled in Bond is: softer and sweeter, showing more caramel and oak. The finish is warmer and longer

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond is: softer and more flavorful on entry, transitioning to a hotter and sweeter experience as it moves back. It has a much longer and warmer finish.

Henry McKenna 10 year Bottled in Bond is: Spicier and fruitier on the nose. Sweeter and spicier in the mouth with a warmer finish.

If you’ve had Heaven Hill 6 Year Bottled in Bond then…

JTS Brown is: much more grain forward on the nose. More vegetal and grain forward, showing more ethanol on both the mouth and finish. 

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond is: very similar on the nose. It shows more mint and baking spice in the mouth and has a shorter finish.

JW Dant is: sweeter on the nose. It shows more butterscotch pudding and baking spice in the mouth and has a more tannic finish.

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond is: sweeter in the nose. It shows more mint and is more grain forward on the mouth. The finish is much hotter.

Henry McKenna 10 year Bottled in Bond is: sweeter and a little more complex on the nose, showing more oak. It’s hotter with more oak flavors in the mouth and is hotter and longer on the finish.

If you’ve had JW Dant Bottled in Bond then…

JTS Brown is: more vegetal and rougher on both the mouth and finish. 

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond is: less sweet on the nose. It’s maltier and shows more baking spices in the mouth. It’s less tannic on the finish.

Heaven Hill 6 year Bottled in Bond is: sweeter and fruitier with more caramel and oak in the mouth with a less tannic finish.

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond is: softer and sweeter on the nose. It is softer and less flavorful in the mouth and more vegetal on the finish.

Henry McKenna 10 year Bottled in Bond is: spicier and less sweet on the nose. Sweeter in the mouth and shows more oak. It’s hotter and oakier on the finish.

If you’ve had Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond then…

JTS Brown is: mintier, showing less caramel on the nose. It’s hotter and rougher on entry and shows more grain and baking spice in the mouth. The finish is more bitter. 

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond is: less floral on the nose and shows more brown sugar and baking spice in the mouth. The mouth is hotter on entry but softer on the finish.

JW Dant is: much more butterscotch forward on the nose. It is sweeter and shows more butterscotch and baking spices in the mouth. The finish is longer with a lingering baking spice.

Heaven Hill 6 year Bottled in Bond is: softer on the nose. It is sweeter on the mouth showing more baking spice. The finish is less hot and harsh.

Henry McKenna 10 year Bottled in Bond is: fruitier with more oak on the nose. The mouth is sweeter, fruitier and shows more oak and baking spice. The finish is richer showing more oak and baking spice.

If you’ve had Henry McKenna 10 year Bottled in Bond then…

JTS Brown is: more grain forward on the nose, shows more grain and ethanol on the mouth and has a finish that shows more bitter grain flavors. 

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond is: similar on the nose but shows less oak. The mouth isn’t as sweet and shows more grain and baking spices. The finish is shorter.

JW Dant is: sweeter on the nose showing butterscotch and a touch of campfire smoke. It is less sweet on the mouth, even though Dant’s primary point of difference on flavor is more butterscotch. Dant has a softer, but more tannic finish.

Heaven Hill 6 year Bottled in Bond is: less sweet on the nose. It shows more sweet grains and less oak on the mouth and has a softer and less oak forward finish.

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond is: less spicy and more sugar sweet on the nose. It is softer and more grain forward on the mouth. It is hotter and more grain forward on the finish.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!