Bottom-Shelf Bourbon Brackets 2017: Round 1: Jim Beam Bonded vs. Jim Beam Black

Round 1c of the 2017 Bottom Shelf Bourbon Brackets features Division 1 Number 2 seed Jim Beam Bonded versus Number 3 seed Jim Beam Black. 

Both of these bourbons are products of Beam-Suntory, produced at one of the two Jim Beam distilleries in either Clermont or Boston, Kentucky. Both of these products are non-age stated bourbons, meaning they are at least four years old. It's probable that Beam Black is in the six- to eight-year-old range but as of 2015 is now officially NAS. Beam Bonded came out about the same time that Beam Black lost its age statement and is Bottled-in-Bond, meaning that it is the product of one distillery (DSP-KY-230 according to reports), one distilling season and is bottled at 100 proof.

These were tasted blind in the following order. My thoughts on each are from before the reveal.

Jim Beam Bonded

Purchase Info: $19.99 for a 1 Liter bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN

Details: 50% ABV, no age statement.

Produced by: Jim Beam Distillery (Beam-Suntory)

Nose: Sweet vanilla sugar, light fruit and oak.

Mouth: Cinnamon, Vanilla, oak, and peanut. 

Finish: Warm and peppery with cocoa and peanut notes. On the longer side of medium.

Pre-Reveal Thoughts: Richer and sweeter than the other. This also has a thicker mouthfeel. There is almost a malty note going on.

Jim Beam Black

Purchase Info: $19.99 for a 1 Liter bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN

Details: 43% ABV, no age statement.

Produced by: Jim Beam Distillery (Beam-Suntory)

Nose: Peanut, oak and dried grass.

Mouth: Fruity and sweet with nutmeg, vanilla and black pepper.

Finish: Medium length with lingering vanilla, cocoa and light grain notes. 

Pre-Reveal Thoughts: Light and sweet with baking spice. Trends grainier than the other. 

Who wins?

Two bottles from the same producer. One at a lower proof, but probably older. One probably younger, but at a higher proof. Who wins? It was close, but higher proof leads to higher seeding for a reason and it bears out here. Jim Beam Bonded advances to the second round. 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, visit Thanks!