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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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