Jim Beam Signature Craft: High Rye

I've been on a bit of a cocktail kick lately. The thing I like about cocktails is the same thing I like about cooking, the interplay of flavors. Really, it's one of the things I like about whiskey too. But unlike whiskey where someone else has determined what works together, with a cocktail you are the one who decides what to put together. And it may be amazing or it might not. 

As I was doing the tasting for tonight's bourbon, I was struck by the distinct anise notes that presented themselves. Now anise is a fairly major flavor component in my favorite cocktail, the Sazerac. I know a traditional Sazerac uses Rye Whiskey. But since the Rye was a replacement for the original Cognac, I didn't feel too bad about substituting a High Rye Bourbon. Especially since the difference between a High Rye Bourbon and the barely legal Rye whiskey that's often called for is a few percentage points of Rye at most.

And it was good! It had a nice thick mouthfeel; the spice was a bit more nutmeg and cinnamon than in the Rye version I normally make. Speaking of that, I made another Sazerac cocktail using Sazerac Rye to compare to it. And by way of comparison, the Rye-based one fell a bit flat. Of course, by a weird turn of events, the Sazerac Rye is one of my least favorite Ryes to use in a Sazerac so who knows what would have happened with a better Rye. But that's the point, keep experimenting. You never really know how things are going to turn out until you do.

Jim Beam Signature Craft: High Rye Bourbon

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

Details: 11 years old, 45% ABV, more Rye than usual used as flavoring grain.

Nose: Floral, Anise, and Oak.

Mouth: Sweet with Anise, Spice, and Oak.

Finish: Warm and long with lingering sweet Anise. 

Thoughts: This one is delicious. Top two or three of the six for sure. I'm a big fan. Reaffirms my decision to snag another batch of six at the sale price. 


This is the fifth of six posts looking at the Jim Beam Signature Craft, Harvest Bourbon Collection. Previous posts can be found here: Six Row Barley, Soft Red Wheat, Brown Rice, Whole Rolled Oats.

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