I purchased this bourbon quite a few months ago and as many readers on this blog will attest, I don't do many reviews of off the shelf releases. There are many other sites that do just that so I leave it to them for the most part. Every once in a while though, I'm intrigued by a certain release.
Over the years Jim Beam has not been a brand that I've kept on the bar regularly. Back in 2010 Jim Beam made the decision to release a Single Barrel 120 proof Knob Creek that really got my attention. Unfortunately, I was a little underwhelmed by the end product. I understand Single Barrels will vary but through multiple instances of this whiskey, I continued to be unimpressed.
In May of this year I posted that Jim Beam was gearing up for releases that jumped into the creative sandbox much like Buffalo Trace was doing with their BTEC and Single Oak projects.
What really intrigued me about this specific release was the use of quarter casks, something that Laphroaig was doing....well almost. Laphroaig does an initial aging in normal sized barrels and then does a finishing in much smaller barrels (quarter cask). The greater surface contact of the whiskey in the barrel in essence speeds up the aging process injecting more wood influence into the whisky. The Jim Beam expression is similar except it's a blend of bourbons aged in quarter cask....not finished.
From the Jim Beam website:
Introducing Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask. Base bourbon finished
with a variety of fine quarter cask bourbons, all aged at least four
years in smaller barrels. Boasting notes of vanilla, oak, and a hint of
caramel, this spirit should be enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
I have to admit this whiskey is above average. The blending of quarter cask finished bourbon lends greater wood notes and the vanilla is definitely present. Entry is sweet exhibiting some candy corn with a touch of baking spice but then the wood notes jump up mid palate providing dominance. As the wood notes fade, so does the finish. That's one strike against this bourbon as the finish is somewhat weak and dry. Overall though, a pleasant enough bourbon and if found on sale, worth picking up to experience the quarter cask influence.
I'm looking forward to the other expressions Jim Beam has for planned release.