Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A tasty treat – Jim Beam Small Batch With Port Added

Jim Beam Small Batch With Port Added

Continuing on with my personal bourbon trail I decided to explore the Jim Beam Small Batch Port Added expression namely released by Jim Beam. This bottle is what is classed as a Super Premium release part of the Small Batch Bourbon Collection. Other expressions in this collection you may know are Bakers, Knob Creek, Bookers, and Basil Haydens. Notably this is also one of the more economical choices by far sitting at just $42 AU a bottle.

For those that do not know what Small Batch is it refers to a hand selection of specific barrels of similar character blended to achieve a specific style in small quantities and usually I have found of very intense flavour.

Why I had been put off for so long was very much the fact it had the on the label 'Port Added'. How much port has been added, what type of port, and where form? No answers sorry. Questionably as well, is this still classed as a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky? At least the label sort of says this but not quite at the same time. Go to the Jim Beam and or Small Batch website and it is not even listed. Further searching on the web has found it may not even be available in the US at all which is interesting in itself. Information is so limited what I have found is just plagiarised form one site to another and tasting notes are non-existant.

Presentation is basic yet extremely well done. The bottle is squat, and rectangular with printing directly onto the bottle and a thick black synthetic type wax seal. Easy to handle and easy to pour. The bottle is exactly the same as Knob Creek right down to the wax seal.

Jim Beam Small Batch With Port Added
Alchohol: 40%
Location / Region: Kentucky
Batch No.: F-2913

Colour is a rich ruby caramel which is slightly out of ordinary for a bourbon that I can only attribute to the added port.

On the nose distinct toasted oak notes (though not as intense as a straight bourbon), maple sugars, sweet cherries, a hint of spice and varnish. The cherry sweetness is very attractive making me want to just jump straight in for a taste. Nothing off putting at all.

To taste all there are all the hall marks of a small batch bourbon with the some intense sweet corns, ryes, and barley, as well as straw and spices but then very quickly turns to a fruity christmas cake and sticky toffee pudding. On the pallet an extreme smoothness that just slips to the back of the throat.

The finish is a bit ho-hum and short just lacking the heat expected or retention in the chest for a cold night.

Balance is ok though sways a bit too much towards a liqueuresque style and the port really softens the blow of the alcohol. Sugars are very high in this whisky and residue can be felt on the lips well after the dram is gone.

If I was to give a dram then it would be 4 1/2 out of 7. I like it and could drink it anytime though the exact flavours and not quite memorable as they are all muddled together. I can really see this whisky being a very good cocktail blender. Extremely good value without a doubt and if your wanting something a little bit more special than your regular Wild Turkey this is the way to go. Also note just because it carries the Jim Beam badge do not expect it to taste like your run of the mill Jim Beam White Label. This bourbon has something special about it.

The Baron