these bottles of Jim Beam Bourbon
showed up at my doorstep, it got me to pondering about the
barrels that were used in aging this spirit. I had recently
tried some Tequila that had been aged in bourbon barrels and
not too long ago some Scotch that had been similarly aged.
It seems to me that these bourbon barrels almost never outlive
their usefulness. Those wily Kentucky Bourbon distillers were
making a profit on their Bourbon as well as the used barrels.
It turns out that there is really not all that much profit
in those barrels after all.
of late 2007, the price for a brand new standard American
oak barrel was $270.00, French oak $600.00, and Eastern European
$480.00. Well, a used 53 gallon barrel brings only about $85.00.
Not only that but they have to be younger barrels used less
than 3 to 4 years because after that the Bourbon interacts
with the wood so much that there is hardly anything worthwhile
in the wood left to repurpose.
I have to admit that those Kentuckians are still pretty wily.
Jim Beam Red Stag starts with their classic
four-year aged bourbon and infuses it with cinnamon. They
also have honey and tea leaves infused Bourbon. Looks like
Vodka isn't the all purpose flavored spirit after all. Flavored
bourbons, just like flavored Vodkas, aren't for everyone but
they can mingle well in mixed drinks.
Red Stag definitely has the full nose of cinnamon,
sort of like those red hot candies rather than the more subtle
aroma of cinnamon the spice. There's an air of sweetness about
it as well and that's supported by a bit of alcohol poking
about in the background. Straight up in the glass the aroma
loses some of its intensity and actually becomes inviting
with a bit of oak poking through the sweetness.
It is thick and oily on the palate and I mean that in a nice
way. It continues to be subtly sweet and spicy. Upon swallowing,
I finally get the Bourbon taste I have been missing. That
taste is good old Jim Beam's smooth Bourbon. The finish is
smooth and peppery but pleasant.
might use this Bourbon during the Holidays to spice up mixed
Christmas treats or possibly even as a dessert Bourbon (if
there is such a thing) after a nice meal. I doubt it will
make true blue Beam Bourbon fans happy but it might get a
few new heads turned in Bourbon's direction. At only around
$18.00 per 750 ml bottle, it is a novelty worth trying during
the holidays for sure.
Beam Black is an 8 year old straight up traditional
middle priced Bourbon that runs $18.00 to $20.00 per 750 ml.
The nose is a subtle Bourbon aroma with a bit of oak and vanilla
and a hint of leather and a bit of alcohol. I have to admit
I didn't find it very complex yet it was pleasantly subtle.
On the palate, the smokiness seeps through the Bourbon flavor
and the vanilla and oak and I pick up a bit of citrus and
the mixture is pleasing, not over-stated. The finish is smooth
and clean with an ending tingle. It's a decent little Bourbon
for the price and could just become a daily sipper at that
price point. You could certainly get more bang for the buck
at two or three or many times more dollars, but at this price
point, you're getting your money's worth.
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