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Jim Beam Signature Craft: Soft Red Wheat

Posted on by Eric Burke

I am in heaven right now. I have Maddy, my little American Eskimo dog in my lap. I have Whiskey, my Border Collie mix at my feet and I have Niku, the Siberian Husky I'm dog sitting sleeping behind my chair. There are dogs everywhere, and I couldn't be happier. 

Another thing that is helping the general sense of well-being is that I have a glass of bourbon close at hand. I like to have a touch of whatever bourbon I'm reviewing as I write the review just to double check my impressions from the tasting we did earlier in the week. 

And it really is a good thing I do this. When I first started the blog, I did tastings, photos and articles all on the night that the article posted. But since that lead to a few too many spelling errors and typos, I decided to start doing the week's tastings on the weekend before to allow myself the luxury of ummm...well...writing sober? Which is why the posts are written with a touch of whiskey and not a full pour. I have enough typos as it is, I don't need help from our friend, beverage ethanol.

I've also found that spending a little more time with a bourbon gives more perspective into how I really feel about it. I've had things I really disliked and really loved in a Glencairn soften to meh or like in a rocks glass with more exposure. And honestly, since both glassware and circumstances affect your enjoyment of a whiskey (which of course is all I'm actually measuring since I refuse to use numerical scores...don't get me started on that topic) I like to gain as many exposures as I can to kind of average out the results.

Which brings me to tonight's bourbon. This is the second post on one of the Jim Beam Signature Craft Harvest Bourbon Collection. I'm working my way through the six pack I found on sale at a local store for $100 (and if you want to play along, it looks like it still is on sale as I write this...don't worry, I made sure to pick up a second full set for myself already so have at it. No, they aren't sponsoring the post, I just thought it was a really good deal). On Tuesday I reviewed the Six Row Barley which I was pleasantly surprised by. Tonight I'm looking at the Soft Red Wheat bottle. I picked these two first since barley* and wheat are fairly typical ingredients in a standard bourbon. I was unimpressed by the Barley in a Glencairn and very impressed with it in a rock glass. I was impressed with the Wheat in a Glencairn and...well, let's find out, shall we?

Jim Beam Signature Craft: Soft Red Wheat

Purchase info: $16.67 for a 375 mL bottle (on sale) at Ace Spirits, Hopkins, MN

Details: 11 years old, 45% ABV, Soft Red Wheat as flavoring grain.

Nose: Oak, caramel and dried wheat grains (think uncooked hot cereal)

Mouth: Tingly spice and brown sugar sweetness along with mint and oak. 

Finish: Medium to long with more mint, spice sweetness, and oak.

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Thoughts: I had a suspicion that this would be one of my top two out of the six. I like some wheated bourbons and I am pretty confident that I will really like the high rye (I've yet to open it). Turns out, not so much. I mean I like this, it's good. But I much prefer the Barley over it. Once again, my hang-up comes with the price. I got it for $16.67 for a half bottle which is about $33 for a full bottle. That seems about right for this. But, they want $50 for a half bottle. There is no way anyone should pay that for this. It simply isn't that good. Sure it's interesting, but interesting can only take you so far.

*Yes, I know bourbon typically uses malted barley and that this probably uses a combination of malted and unmalted barley, but whatever. Close enough.


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