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Review: Jim Beam Black 8 year old

Posted on by Eric Burke

Today was one of those days where I noticed every step I took. It’s not that I hurt or anything like that. I was just aware of every step. It’s a strange sensation. Noticing things that should be so natural that they are below notice. It happens to me every so often. And of course as soon as I’m aware of it, I inevitably seem to forget how to do it. I trip over nothing and I stumble. 

For most of my life, my mother has told me that I’m weird. Growing up in the Upper Midwest where “that’s different” is used as an expression of intense disapproval, being told you are weird is on a whole other level. But I don’t think she ever meant it as a statement of disapproval to me, even though she often used it as an excuse as to why she didn’t like others. To me, it always sounded like there was a bit of wonder in there. Like she couldn’t quite understand where all my odd statements could possibly come from.

I’ve always seemed to look at the world a little differently. It’s either because I’m a designer or it’s the reason why I’m good at it. Sort of a chicken and egg thing there. I notice things and wonder about them. I’m intensely curious. Growing up I wanted to know how things worked and that contnues to this day. I’m constantly taking something apart. I’ve studied history in my spare time for almost a decade because I really want to know why things are the way they are today. 

It’s one of the things I like best about whiskey. From the history to the chemistry, there is so much to learn and discover. Even a simple glass of Jim Beam can give you just a little insight into the way a company works and what is going on there. Take the Jim Beam Black that I’m drinking. It’s stated age is 8 years. It was one of the last few on the shelf that still said that. The new ones you buy just say “Extra Aged.” This gives you a little hint that either the 8 year old wasn’t tasting quite up to the profile they wanted, they were running low and needed to be flexible, or they decided to squeeze a little more profit out of the label. It may even be a bit of all three. 

In any case it’s interesting to ponder. And at least when I notice things like this I tend to not fall down.

Jim Beam Black

Purchase Info: Total Wine. Burnsville, MN. $16.99 for a 750 mL.

Details: Age Stated 8 years. 43% ABV

Nose: Caramel, cedar, allspice and a faint melon sweetness.

Mouth: Spicy and tingly on entry. Black tea, black pepper, brown sugar, oak, cayenne and toffee.

Finish: Some tingle. Decent length. Black pepper and black tea.

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Thoughts: All in all this is a decently put together bourbon. If you are a fan of Jim Beam branded whiskeys you will probably like this a lot. If you aren’t, then you probably won’t. It’s lands right inside the Jim Beam wheelhouse just with more oak. Typically, I’m neither a fan of Jim Beam branded bourbons or ones that show a lot of oak so I fall into the second camp on this one. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just isn’t for me.


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