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Jim Beam

Jim Beam

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Highlights
  • World's best selling bourbon whisky
  • Aged 4 years
  • Wonderfully mellow all-rounder
  • ABV 40%, 70cl



 

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Summary

Jim Beam is the flagship brand of the Jim Beam Distillery and is the best selling bourbon whisky in the world. (Note: Jack Daniel’s is a better seller than Jim Beam, but Jack Daniel’s is not, technically, a bourbon.) Jim Beam is aged for four years, twice as long as is required for a drink to be called bourbon. But it is not about rules and regulations when it comes to how this bourbon is made. It is produced the way it is because that is how it was made way back in 1795 when it all began. As the old saying goes, why fix something that is not broke?

The mellow taste appeals to most palettes so it is not surprising this has a place in many drinks’ cabinets. Some people say it should be used as a mixer. That is true, but not exclusively as it is a great all-rounder and is the day-to-day sipping whisky for many.

 

 


Other Sizes

70cl is the standard size bottle, but various sizes are available

Jim Beam 5cl

Jim Beam 10 x 5cl

Jim Beam and cola premixed 12 x 330ml

Jim Beam 1.5 litre


 

 

More Information

Jim Beam is part of the huge drinks company Beam Inc which is the 4th largest premium spirits company in the world and the largest US-based spirits company. They are responsible for many much-loved drinks, including Maker's Mark, Old Crow and Knob Creek bourbons; Canadian Club, Teacher's Scotch and Kilbeggan Irish whiskies; plus vodkas, tequilas, rums and gins. It all began, however, with a man named Beam and a much humbler operation.

Jacob Beam lived in the late 18th and early 19th century. He started selling whisky in 1795 called Jake Beam, produced at a distillery he called Old Tub, and a legend was born. His sons, and his sons sons, took over and further developed the company, building the brand Jim Beam into the best selling bourbon whisky in the world.

Today it is made at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky in the US. It is here that the naturally filtered and iron-free water is located. It is used in the production of Jim Beam, which is made with a grain recipe that includes corn, rye and malted barley. The yeast recipe used has been handed down through the generations of Beam master distillers, a position currently occupied by Fred Noe.

Jim Beam bourbon is distilled twice, once in a column still and then in a pot still. It is then aged for 4 years in new, charred, American oak barrels.

The result is the smooth, sweet and spicy bourbon taste we all love. It is a great everyday-whisky and is suitable for everyone, with some people taking it straight, while others think it is best in mixed drinks.

Jim Beam has been at the forefront of bourbon innovation in recent years, with new product introductions such as Jim Beam Honey and Jim Beam Devil's Cut. There has also always been a younger version, called Green Label, and a version aged for 6 years, now called Black 6 Year Old Triple Aged. This sort of progress and forward thinking is important in the bourbon whisky industry as more and more brands and types of drink compete for our attention. Those who fail to do this will get left behind.

On the flip side, it is good that some things never change. That applies to Jim Beam. It is fine the way it is, and we trust the huge corporation now behind the brand leaves it that way.

A final word on the price, as you will hard-pressed to find a better value bourbon whisky than this.

 

 

 

Jim Beam on Bourbon Whisky

Production
 Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky, USA
The story
 Making Jim Beam bourbon whisky * Jim Beam's seven generations of distillers

 

 


 

Nevin's Review

Jim Beam

Rating: 4 out of 5

Updated by Nevin Thompson on 26 February 2013

In Brief

Uncomplicated, nice tasting and one of the best mixers available.

The Long Bit

In the UK, Jim Beam has always been second in the American whisky stakes to Jack Daniel's, in terms of sales and name recognition. Many bars will have Jim Beam on offer, while every bar has Jack Daniel's. And if you ask someone about American drinks, some will not have heard of Jim Beam.

Given that it can be easily forgotten that Jim Beam is massively popular, both here in the UK and worldwide. In fact, it consistently features in the top 20 best selling spirits in the world. And as Jack Daniel's calls itself a Tennessee whiskey instead of a bourbon, Jim Beam is the best selling bourbon in the world.

So from that we can determine that the company is good at marketing and making sure its product is on the shelves of our shops, the pages of our websites and the dispensers in our bars. But does the hype and the impressive sales figures correlate with how good it really is.

Firstly let me re-iterate how I judge bourbon and whisky, as it is a bit different from many of the other critics out there. Most critics judge a whisky purely on taste, but in my view that is like comparing apples and oranges. So how do you square the circle of making a proper comparison, while maintaining consistent standards in your judgement? It would be wrong, for example, to hold a value-range bourbon to a lower standard than a premium product.

The way I do it is to take a range of factors into account, of which taste is just one. I also consider the position in the market, the appropriateness of the price tag, and how good it does the job it was designed to do.

As for Jim Beam, I think it does its job exceptionally well. It is excellent value for money and a good all-rounder. I personally drink it with a mixer, usually cola, but it also works well in cocktails.

It is aged for four years so there is a good body and hints of oak to taste. It is sweet and smooth but there are also spicy notes, a result of the high percentage of rye in the grain recipe.

Do not sip this straight and expect the same sort of quality you would get from a £40, £80 or £120 bottle of bourbon. That is not what Jim Beam is about. Mix it, enjoy it with friends and eat anything you like with it. Have it while watching the football or while down the pub. Do not over-complicate it. It is not complex, but it is nice - a drink for everyone and for every day.




 

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