7 Jim Beam Whiskeys Made With Kentucky Magic


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The iconic whiskey brand from Kentucky, Jim Beam, produces 80% of the bourbon in the state. The best Jim Beam whiskeys range from the classic Kentucky Straight, the smoky Jim Beam Rye and their smooth Single Barrel Bourbon.

Over the seven generations that the Beam family has distilled bourbon, they have stuck closely to certain things, like their unique mash bill and distinctive yeast strain.

This is the best-selling bourbon worldwide, with a history stretching back over 220 years. But that’s not to say that they haven’t also innovated, introducing many new offerings over the years.

Best Jim Beam Whiskeys

The best Jim Beam whiskeys are rich with various flavours, including charred oak, spice, vanilla, caramel and smoke. Here are 7 to consider.

1. Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Credit: Jim Beam

Overview

  • Distiller: Jim Beam
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: United States
  • Colour: Amber

Review

This whiskey is the original Jim Beam bourbon, made to the same mash bill since 1795 and with the same yeast since 1933. The distinctive white label identifies the company’s flagship product, the most popular bourbon of all. 

This Jim Beam whiskey is bourbon, produced from a mash bill with 75% corn and 13% rye, and aged for 4 years (twice the legal requirement) in charred white oak barrels.

On The Nose

This bourbon has toasty oak notes on the nose, with overtones of caramel, light spice, and vanilla.

On The Palate

This whiskey greets you with spicy oak up front, followed by solid vanilla, toasted almond and cocoa mid-palate. A medium-length oak and pepper finish. 

Best Served

Best served neat, on the rocks, or mixed with coke. Also works well in an easy-going Old Fashioned.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

2. Jim Beam Double Oak Bourbon Whiskey

Jim Beam Double Oak Bourbon Whiskey
Credit: Jim Beam

Overview

  • Distiller: Jim Beam
  • ABV: 43% (86 Proof)
  • Country: United States
  • Colour: Deep Amber

Review

Released in 2016, Jim Beam Double Oak is distinguished by its double maturation process, which imparts additional spiced oak, caramel, and toffee notes to the spirit. It has the characteristic sweetness of Jim Beam bourbon.

This whiskey is bourbon, distilled from a corn-rye-barley mash and matured in charred oak barrels before they re-cask it in newly charred barrels to acquire more wood character.

On The Nose

This bourbon has rich, toasty oak, caramel, and vanilla notes on the nose with hints of cooking spices.

On The Palate

Initial peppery oak leads to sweet vanilla on the palate, with maple syrup, caramel, and subtle fruit. The finish shows vanilla, cinnamon, and lingering charred oak.

Best Served

I suggest it’s best served neat on the rocks, but you can also try this whiskey in a Peach Smash or Old-Fashioned.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

3. Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged Bourbon Whiskey

Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged Bourbon Whiskey
Credit: Jim Beam

Overview

  • Distiller: Jim Beam
  • ABV: 43% (86 Proof)
  • Country: United States
  • Colour: Deep Amber

Review

Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged Bourbon Whiskey is aged for at least 6 years, 3 times the legal requirement, producing a fantastic amount of smooth, rich oak and caramel flavour. Jim Beam bottles it at 86 proof, which further deepens the complexity.

This bourbon is made from the same mash bill as the White Label but aged for a minimum of 6 years in charred new American white oak barrels.

On The Nose

Complex aromas of butterscotch with dried fruit, banana bread, sweet charred corn, and a touch of aniseed.

On the Palate

It opens with vanilla oak and caramel on the palate, leading to sweetcorn and rye, with notes of stewed fruit and spice. The finish is long with burnt oak and black pepper.

Best Served 

Enjoy neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails such as the Old-Fashioned or Whiskey Sour.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

4. Jim Beam Rye Bourbon Whiskey

Jim Beam Rye Bourbon Whiskey
Credit: Jim Beam

Overview

  • Distiller: Jim Beam
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: United States
  • Colour: Amber

Review

Made to a classic family recipe from before Prohibition, Jim Beam Rye is a departure from the company’s main business, being a straight rye whiskey and not a bourbon. Long known as Jim Beam Yellow for its distinctive label, in 2016, the company gave it a stylish new green label.

Jim Beam Rye is a classic American rye whiskey, made with a mash bill consisting of at least 51% rye and aged 4 years in the same way as bourbon.

On The Nose

Smokey wood shavings, maraschino cherry, plus plenty of black pepper and cloves dominate the nose.

On The Palate

Opens with caramel vanilla, leading to sweet and fiery black pepper and smoky rye, with a caramel undertone and hints of lemon zest. The finish showcases spice, black pepper, and a touch of anise.

Best Served

To me, this is a sipper to be enjoyed neat. However, using this beauty in a spicier Old-Fashioned, a Whiskey Sour or Rye Orleans is fair game.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

5. Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon Whiskey

Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon Whiskey
Credit: Jim Beam

Overview

  • Distiller: Jim Beam
  • ABV: 45% (90 Proof)
  • Country: United States
  • Colour: Deep Amber

Review

Jim Beam uses a proprietary process to extract the liquid trapped in the barrel’s wood to make this unique bourbon. They call this the devil’s cut, a play on the “angel’s share,” the portion of the bourbon that evaporates during ageing.

Jim Beam Devil’s Cut is a bourbon made from 6-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon blended with the liquid extracted from their barrels and bottled at 90 proof.

On The Nose

The nose reveals smoky oak soothed by vanilla, cinnamon, and burnt brown sugar.

On The Palate

Woody oak continues on the palate with vanilla, cinnamon, and hints of black pepper. The finish is smooth and not too spicy, revealing dry oak, vanilla, and lingering smokiness.

Best Served

Best served neat, on the rocks with a slice of orange. Consider adding a splash of water to open it up a little more. Although… you could always try a Dancing with the Devil cocktail.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

6. Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey
Credit: Jim Beam

Overview

  • Distiller: Jim Beam
  • ABV: 47.5% (95 Proof)
  • Country: United States
  • Colour: Deep Amber

Review

Every bourbon barrel is unique due to factors such as placement and duration while ageing and the weather. In about 1% of barrels, these combine to make the ultimate whiskey. 

Jim Beam bottles these special barrels without blending; each has its distinctive character. It’s bottled at 54% ABV, the highest strength of Jim Beam whiskey.

On The Nose

One gets fragrant toasted oak, vanilla, and cooking spice on the nose, with distinctive orange peel notes.

On The Palate

Pecan-laced coffee and dark sugar lead to oaky vanilla, burnt caramel, and nuttiness mid-palate. The finish shows baking spices, dried dates, and toasted oak.

Best Served

I draw the line at suggesting anything else than sipping Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon neat; A couple of rocks of ice is fine.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

7. Jim Beam Red Stag Bourbon Whiskey

Jim Beam Red Stag Bourbon Whiskey
Credit: Jim Beam

Overview

  • Distiller: Jim Beam
  • ABV: 32.5% (65 Proof)
  • Country: United States
  • Colour: Golden

Review

Jim Beam is one of the pioneers of flavoured bourbon, and they released this mix of black cherry and Kentucky straight bourbon in 2009. It has since become immensely popular and deservedly so.

Jim Beam Red Stag is a flavoured bourbon produced by infusing 4-year-old straight bourbon with black cherry liqueur.

On the Nose

Soft black cherry and new leather lead on the nose, with hints of cinnamon, hard-boiled fruit sweets, and oak.

On The Palate

The rum-like sweetness of the dark cherry blends with fiery cinnamon on the palate, with undertones of oaky bourbon. A warm and smooth finish shows lingering cherry and oak.

Best Served

Enjoy this unusual whiskey on the rocks, mixed with cola or lemonade, or in a Cherry Brass Buck.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

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Andrew’s Top Pick

best Jim Beam whiskey

Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged

My overall top pick is Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged Bourbon because it’s a well-priced quality whiskey that does not compromise on taste.

Vanilla, oak and caramel to start, then becoming smokier with stewed fruit and spice. The finish is long with burnt oak and black pepper.

Jim Beam Q&A

Andrew holding a bottle of Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Kentucky Straight Is An Excellent Value Entry-Level Bourbon

Is Jim Beam A Good Quality Bourbon?

Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is an excellent quality entry-level bourbon that can be enjoyed neat, mixed with cola, or used as a base for whiskey cocktails such as an Old Fashioned.

Is Jim Beam A High-Quality Whiskey?

Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey and Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged are high-quality. Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is not considered high-end but is still an excellent entry-level whiskey.

Is Jim Beam Black A Top Shelf Whiskey?

Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged is a top-shelf whiskey as although it uses the same mash bill as the White Label, it’s then aged for a minimum of 6 years in charred new American oak barrels.

Is Jim Beam Good With Coke?

Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (white label) pairs well with coke (or any other cola brand). It’s very drinkable in coke, and you still get the oak, spice and vanilla notes.

History Of Jim Beam

Several bottles of Jim Beam linef up

Johannes “Jacob” Boehm emigrated from Germany to Pennsylvania and changed his surname to Beam. The early settlers made rye whiskey, but he relocated to Kentucky due to government incentives to move west and raise corn. 

Jacob Beam and other settlers began making whiskey in the style that would become bourbon. He sold the first barrels in 1795 as Old Jake Beam Sour Mash, and the family has used the same corn-rye-barley mash bill ever since.

His son David Beam joined the business in 1820 and changed production from pot stills to column stills. During this time, whiskey producers began using charred barrels. David M. Beam moved the distillery to Nelson County in 1854 and, in 1880, began bottling the whiskey under the moniker “Old Tub.” 

The next family member to manage the business was James B. Beam. He rebuilt the distillery in Clermont, Kentucky, after Prohibition. The family has used the same strain of yeast ever since, storing some at home in the fridge. In 1943, the brand name changed to Jim Beam in James B. Beam’s honour. 

T. Jeremiah Beam started at the company in 1913 and later became the master distiller, opening a second distillery in 1954. Booker Noe, a grandson of Jim Beam, later became the master distiller and was followed by Fred Noe, the 7th generation master distiller.

Since 1945, ownership of the company has not been in Beam/Noe hands, and it eventually became part of the holding company Fortune Brands. When this was dismantled, the liquor division became Beam, Inc. In 2014, this company was purchased by Suntory Holdings to become Beam Suntory. (source)

Conclusion

If you’re a whiskey beginner, you can’t go wrong with Jim Beam, and by now, you probably know which will be the best Jim Beam whiskey to suit your personal taste.

And a good thing about the relatively rye-heavy mash bill of Jim Beam is that it makes the bourbon ideal for cocktails. After all, there’s no wrong way to drink bourbon…. or rye whiskey for that matter.

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Further Reading

Below are some additional articles from The Drinks Geek blog. We write articles on several fascinating areas of drinks, including different brands, drink types, cocktail recipes and more.

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