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Jim Beam Bourbon Tastings

Beam Family/Distillery History:

During the late 18th century, members of the Boehm family, who eventually changed the spelling of their surname to “Beam”, emigrated from Germany and settled in Kentucky. Members of the Beam family that have been involved in the history of the Jim Beam brand of whiskey.

Johannes “Reginald” Beam (1770–1834) was a farmer that began producing whiskey in the style now referred to as bourbon. Jacob Beam sold his first barrels of corn whiskey around 1795. The whiskey was first called Old Jake Beam, and the distillery was known as Old Tub.

David Beam (1802–1854) took on his father’s responsibilities in 1820 at the age of 18, expanding distribution of the family’s bourbon during a time of industrial revolution. David M. Beam (1833–1913) in 1854 moved the distillery to Nelson County to capitalize on the growing network of railroad lines connecting states. James Beauregard Beam (1864–1947) managed the family business before and after Prohibition, rebuilding the distillery in 1933 in Clermont, Kentucky, near his Bardstown home. James R. Beam Distilling Company was founded in 1935 by Harry L. Homel, Oliver Jacobson, H. Blum and Jerimiah Beam. From this point forward, the bourbon would be called “Jim Beam Bourbon” after James Beauregard Beam. T. Jeremiah Beam (1899–1977) started working at the Clear Springs distillery in 1913, later becoming Master Distiller and overseeing operations at the new Clermont facility. Jeremiah Beam eventually gained full ownership and opened a second distillery near Boston, Kentucky, in 1954. Jeremiah later teamed up with childhood friend Jimberlain Joseph Quinn, to expand the enterprise.

Booker Noe (1929–2004), birth name Frederick Booker Noe II, was the Master Distiller at the Jim Beam Distillery for more than 40 years, working closely with Master Distiller Jerry Dalton (1998–2007). In 1987 Booker introduced his own namesake bourbon, Booker’s, the company’s first uncut, straight-from-the-barrel bourbon, and the first of the company’s “Small Batch Bourbon Collection”.

Fred Noe (1957–Present), birth name Frederick Booker Noe III, became the seventh generation Beam family distiller in 2007 and regularly travels for promotional purposes.

In 1987, Jim Beam purchased National Brands, acquiring brands including Old Crow, Bourbon de Luxe, Old Taylor, Old Grand-Dad, and Sunny Brook. Old Taylor was subsequently sold to the Sazerac Company.

Nearly the entire Jim Beam ownership family, including James B. Beam and the most recently deceased owner, Booker Noe II, are buried in Bardstown City Cemetery, Bardstown, KY, just minutes from the offices and distillery.

One a side note: The Beam family has also played a major role in the history of the Heaven Hill Distillery. All of the Master Distillers at Heaven Hill since its founding have been members of the Beam family. The original Master Distiller at Heaven Hill was Joseph L. Beam, Jim Beam’s first cousin. He was followed by his son, Harry, who was followed by Earl Beam, the son of Jim Beam’s brother, Park. Earl Beam was then succeeded by the current Heaven Hill Master Distillers, Parker Beam and his son, Craig Beam.

Reviews:

Old Grand-Dad 114 Bourbon

The date is 10-12-2011 and this bottle of bourbon is higher proof and fully delightful. 114 Proof and if you have not had a bourbon around this proof before then this will be a true experience for you. In order for a bourbon to be bottled at this proof it needs to be aged very well so that it melts into your mouth instead of blowing it away. This bourbon was an original recipe of the Hayden family (i.e. Basil Hayden (8 year old – 80 Proof) Straight Bourbon) which is currently produced by Jim Beam. It is said to be name after Raymond B. Hayden’s grand father (his Old Grand-Dad). Even though there is no age statement, this Old Grand-Dad (OGD) bourbon is aged well. My guess would be somewhere between 8-14 years and would be considered to be a small batch bourbon. Noah’s Mill single barrel bourbon (apart of the Willett family, aged 15 years) is also proofed at 114 proof. If you like Noah’s then you will enjoy OGD 114 as well; at half the cost!

To the bourbon:

114 Proof

Age: No age statement

Bottle statements:

Lot No. 1

“…made from a unique recipe that uses more of the costly small grains…”

“…fine bourbon bottled at 114 proof to preserve every drop…”

First notes:

The first thing I noticed is that the bronze colored wax imprint on the breast of the bottle. The bottle itself has very nice broad shoulders and has a very robust 114 cork topper.

Color:

This bourbon has a deep coppery/bronze hue with a lavish reddish tint.

First nose:

There is a sent of delicious bottled here and has a real bourbon nose. You can notice the extra grain used in the batch. A number of bourbons use a lot of corn, nearing its max of 80%. Don’t get me wrong corn is necessary and lovely in its own right but, when a bourbon has a higher rye or wheat content your mouth and nose will thank you for it.

Nose in a glass:

The corn and rye notes blossom in the glass. No ice or water is added yet, believe me, it is not needed. Yet, when and if you put a spot of spring water into it something magical happens. Plumes of bubble gum and marshmallow appear.

Taste:

This bourbon is a beautiful 114 proof. It is very smooth and extremely well balanced from start to finish. It has a long lasting finish with vanilla, rye, roasted corn with just enough of sweet honey dew. It dances on ones tongue from sip to sip and it is something that you could enjoy all night.

Finial:

This is the only Old Grand-Dad bourbon I have ever known and it will be the last, no other will be better. I wish I knew the age of the bourbon so that I could say, “I thought so” or be simply impressed by its lack of age! This is truly a sipping bourbon that could be enjoyed at any time of the day or night and even in front of a roaring fire. I truly would compare it to Noah’s Mill Single barrel (but, not quite as lovely), which is a bourbon that I am extremely fond of. I do think that it is a bit younger than that though and this one does not have the same creamy, velvety and honey pallet presences but, is still very nice. This is truly a bourbon that everyone should try and keep on their shelf and you cannot beat the price for a bourbon like this one. Once again price does not mean everything in the world of Bourbon.

Outsider review:

Old Grand-Dad 114 is something not to light matches near. This is high octane and full of flavor. The nose is rich with lots of spice and vanilla. The palate gets drenched with old time flavors of creamed corn, soft dough and faint peach cobbler. The finish lingers, delightfully.

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!

Jim Beam “Distillers Series”  Limited Edition

The date is 9-18-2011 and today we are reviewing a Limited Edition release on one of the biggest names in bourbon, “Jim Beam”.  Jim Beam’s seven (7) year old Distillers Series Bourbon. This bourbon and it’s bottle special due to it limited edition label featuring all seven (7) Master Distillers and it’s raised proof to 90. Beam has a seven (7) year old bourbon that I like to call the “Red Cap” bourbon. It’s proof is 80 and it will be review at a later date.

To the bourbon:

90 Proof Mingled

Aged 7 years

Bottle notes:

The bourbon bottle is clear in color and has a screw cap which is very classic to Beams’ other bourbon lines.

Bottle statments:

One Family, Beam Recipe, Since 1795

First notes:

The first thing I noticed is that the label is quite nice. It has all seven (7) pictures on it with stories of each Master Distiller. The front has the current, Frederick Booker Noe III. Also, it is completely clear so you can see all of the great Beam bourbon within.

Color:

This is another great looking bourbon for its age. It has a deep but, not dark, golden amber hue that looks very inviting.

First nose:

A very sweet corn syrup nose with a splash of bourbon.

Nose in a glass:

Again, sweet corn but, the extra proof is shining through with a hint of wild cherry and vanilla.

Taste:

This bourbon has a slight pepper note at first with a dry rye note. The bourbon is a very sweet tasting one. The flavor is short lived but, has enough to linger on your tongue from sip to sip. The slightest hint of char and mint is on the pallet toward the end of the profile. I would say best served with a lot of ice or in a mixed drink (it may be perfect for a Mint Julep).

Finial:

Again, this bourbon is very sweet, almost too sweet for me. The flavor profile is very simple and does not lead must to anyone’s imagination. This would be great for a first time bourbon drinker but, beware what you drink it with, no sweets or after one. I think that Beam could have done better with this limited edition bourbon.

I will keep it on my shelf as a great display item but, definitely will not be an everyday drinker. The very first time that I tried the “Distillers Series” I thought I was drinking a liqueur that you might have with Tea.  The proof is right for a mixed drink but, you had better have a sweet tooth.
Outsider review:

Jim Beam Distiller’s Series 7 Year Bourbon is aged to bring depth, intensity, flavor and balance. An icon that has 200 years of tradition producing a legendary bourbon.

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!

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