Last year, on a particularly cold negative twenty degree (Fahrenheit) night, I put a glass of 80° proof whiskey out on the deck to see how it would react to the extreme cold of a Minnesota winter and if it would start to freeze. Mostly, it did nothing. It got a little syrupy but it’s not like it started to crystalize or anything. I was a little disappointed but only a little. I started my college education, way back in the pre-commercial internet days, studying science so I am well versed in the idea that a hypothesis (especially one that is backed by scant actual info) often doesn’t stand up to experimental trials.
Why would I leave a glass of whiskey outside overnight? Well, mostly because I was curious. I wanted to know what happens as alcohol reaches it’s freezing point (roughly -17°F at 80 proof). Especially if that alcohol is bourbon. And since negative twenty doesn’t happen too often I thought that was my chance to find out. Maybe it didn’t get that cold, or maybe alcohol starts to gel before freezing. No idea. But it was interesting to observe. If this winter gets that cold, I’ll probably try again. It would be interesting to try frozen whiskey.
It is that same curiosity that led me to a certain thought when I first saw that Jim Beam was coming out with a non-chill filtered. We’ve all learned that bourbons are chill-filtered because at a lower proof there is the possibility of a cloudiness occurring if it gets too cold. This is deemed to be a turn-off to customers (I’d guess rightly so). And so the producers pre-chill the bourbon to filter that cloudiness out. But, the follow-up thought also says that chill-filtered bourbon also removes some of the flavor. And so it is fitting that, with a limited edition bourbon, a company would skip that step and give geeks what they are clamoring for, even if it is at a lower proof.
Of course, the first thing I thought of was if I could make that cloudiness happen. I’ve never seen it and I would like to. Why? Curiosity, I guess. But then I went and finished the bottle before thinking about it. Maybe I’ll have to get get another one.
Jim Beam Repeal Batch
Purchase Info: $17.99 for a 750 ml bottle, Liquor Barn Jefferson Commons, Louisville, KY. Available locally starting at $18.99 for a one liter bottle.
Details: 43% ABV. Non-Chill filtered.
Nose: Peanut Brittle, dried leaves
Mouth: Peanut, baking spice and a hint of mint.
Finish: Gentle with a long lasting unsalted peanut note.
Thoughts: This is a limited edition whiskey. Is it worth grabbing instead of other Beam products? To find out, I picked up a little Beam White label and Beam Black label. It found that this has a nose that is more similar to Beam Black than it is to Beam White, though not as woody as Black Label. The mouth is a sweeter and smoother version of Beam White. It doesn’t show the sharp wood flavors that Beam White often does. I’d say that if you were to view the difference between Beam White and Beam Black on a spectrum, that this would fall somewhere on the one quarter mark (on the Beam White side).
Should you buy it? If you are a Beam fan, yes. Even if it is just for curiosity’s sake. In a vacuum, it is pretty meh. But it is a better version of Beam White and due to the price, I might pick up a liter for use in cocktails. Or for experimentation’s sake.
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