Recommended use: Serve neat/with ice
Malt Mileage Rating:
Origin: Kentucky, United States
There is much to be excited about, at least on paper, with the Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 year old. For one thing, as you’ve probably already assumed from the name, this bourbon is aged in new charred oak barrels for 12 years.
Twelve years is a long time for a bourbon to age in oak.
To compare, Jim Beam White Label (the entry-level Jim Beam) is aged for 4 years in new charred oak barrels. The extra time that the Jim Bream Signature Craft spends in oak should mean the whiskey’s character offers less grain, but more oak (toasted wood, char flavours, vanilla, caramel).
Nose: A little flat at first, there is brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, toasted oak and saw dust. There is plenty of wood on the nose (perhaps a little too much?), but flashes of lemon zest interrupt what seems like wave after wave of wood.
Hang on a sec. Letting this bourbon breathe for half an hour, there is more rye, lemon peel and the smell of a bag of cinnamon doughnuts.
Taste: The mash really packs a punch, with corn playing an important role together with the wood, and then the taste of licorice and flashes of rye pick up. The mash flavours then fade to the taste of chocolate, char, honey, mint and wood smoke. There is slight sourness and bitterness, similar to a heavy beer.
Finish: Wood smoke, char and spices (cinnamon and pepper), with lingering hints of rye. Burp, and I get more of the grain 😋
Overall: This is a straight shooting bourbon that does what it is meant to do (taste darn great!) at a decent price. Enough said.