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Sunday 20 April 2014
Curtis McMillan
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The Beam that holds us up

9th November, 2012 by Curtis McMillan

Why Jim Beam white label is what it is.

Most people like to talk trash about the best. They find it’s always an easy target to make fun of the person at the top of the hill. Jim Beam white label is most definitely at the top of the hill when it comes to bourbon.

This quintessential Kentucky powerhouse is the largest producer of bourbon in the world. That one fact has made it a target of all other bourbon distilleries in America. My review of Jim Beam white label is my chance to come to terms with what it is and is not.

I think it’s helpful to understand a product can’t be everything to everyone, but when you’re the best you don’t become one without something . This review is a chance for me to dig deeper and look to find what that is.

We could talk about Beam’s history, and it’s a great way for me to pad this article, but it’s a little overdone. I’m honestly sick of articles on bourbon that talk about why they had the first bourbon, and to tell you the truth who cares? Give me the meat and potatoes is what I say. So here it is the meat and potatoes of why Jim Beam white label is what it is.

Beam white label is to bourbon what Glenfiddich 12 is to single malt Scotch. It’s a staple on which all other brands of bourbon are based. From the first time you smell it you become overpowered by it’s fat corn aroma and hint of rye.

This makes for a beautiful bourbon bouquet. It’s a very clean aroma for its price point. You would expect a heavy alcohol aroma but it’s almost subtle. On tasting it you will get a soft woody burn that you find in most bourbons. Its sharp spice is something I attribute to the rye in its mash bill (ingredients) the soft tingle I get at the tip of my tongue is an indicator of the sweet corn and ethanol in the alcohol.

The wood sugars show up in the finish against the sides of your tongue. For people new to bourbon you will find high levels of wood sugars from the American mandate of only using new oak barrels for aging. This simple to the point bourbon is just that. No fancy bottle or label needed. I’m sure someone in a marketing department is going nuts trying to figure out how Beam does it. I think it’s easy, when you taste this good and sell at a good price point you don’t need to dress it up.

What it can do?
Past the point of jumping over tall buildings and stopping bullets. This bourbon can be your go to bourbon and may already be. Its price point is spectacular on my side of the pond. So without making some late night phone calls and price checking. You, my friends in Europe, are going to have to go with my educated guess that it’s also a very reasonable purchase in your neck of the woods. I would say with confidence this can go into any bourbon cocktail and could fill the needs of almost anyone asking for bourbon on the rocks.

What it can’t do?
If the person asking for a bourbon on the rocks looks or sounds remotely American, it may be beneficial to stay away from pouring it.

My reason is people in the US either love or hate Jim Beam. There is no discerning quality for this love or hate. It’s kind of like politics in the US. I find some people love it and some people loathe it.

It may be in your best interest to stock one top shelf bourbon for Americans and pour Beam for everyone else. Not to say that American drinkers that loathe it have a good reason.

Like I said in the start of this article some people love to hate on the best. I was not always a fan, and maybe its too simple a bourbon for my taste, but you’re not paying for a wild ride. You’re paying for something consistent traditional and to the point, and that’s what beam does best.

One Response to “The Beam that holds us up”

  1. col.b says:

    I’t’s my belief that nobody could’av said it better, This stuff is what it is….and that’s value, consistancey and a bloody nice little drink…………..cheers amarica :)

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