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jim beam...am i crazy?

oystersallday Apr 12, 2008 02:08 PM

so having been a bit short of cash at the bar last night i decided to order a jim beam on the rocks instead of the usual knob creek. granted it was not was not knob---but i have to admit that i enjoyed it and even had a second.
am i crazy? what do you think of mr jb?

  1. r
    roro1831 Apr 12, 2008 02:16 PM

    I use Mr Beam when I make mint juleps, he does a good job.

    1. sku Apr 12, 2008 09:40 PM

      Knob Creek (as well as Booker's, Baker's and Basil Hayden) is essentially the same whiskey as Jim Beam. Beam picks selected barrels to go into Knob and the other small batches from the Beam floor, so it's not necesarilly crazy. Knob is supposed to have a somewhat smoother profile, but it's made from the same mash bill and aged in the same barrels.

      7 Replies
      1. re: sku
        JasonFalls Apr 15, 2008 06:55 AM

        Hey sku -- I work with Jim Beam, particularly with the small batch collection, and wanted to offer up some info that might help clarify your comment. We're thrilled you're talking about the small batch collection and Jim Beam, but wanted to assure you that Knob Creek is not made from the same mash bill. Beam's mash bill is not the same as as Basil Hayden or Bookers, either.

        Also, Jim Beam White is aged four years so it’s not going to have the same flavor profile it would have if it sat in a barrel five more years, or it had twice the rye in its mash bill like Basil Hayden’s. There is also a difference in bottling proof, which changes the profile as well. As for the same barrels, yes the bourbon is aged in Independent Stave barrels, as are most bourbons in Kentucky. And yes, the bourbons are made by the same folks.

        We would encourage you, or anyone, to taste them side by side. We think you'll notice the differences.

        If you want to know more about the specifics, you can ask the Whiskey Professors (Steve, Dave and Bernie helped me clarify all this info before I responded) on the Knob Creek website at knobcreek.com.

        Thanks again for the discussion. We'd love to hear your thoughts when you compare them side-by-side.

        Jason Falls (here for conversation, not advertisement)

        1. re: JasonFalls
          sku Apr 15, 2008 11:35 AM

          Jason, thanks for your correction and I apologize if I mischaracterized your product.

          However, I could have sworn that this information was in a recent issue of Malt Advocate or Whisky Magazine. I'll look for it and report back. Is that how it used to be done.

          Also, I thought that the origination of the small batch collection was that Booker and Baker would pull their favorite casks of JB off the floor and bottle it for their friends.

          1. re: sku
            JasonFalls Apr 15, 2008 10:01 PM

            Oh, no problem at all. Just wanted to make sure I responded.

            As a make-sure, I kept pounding on the Whiskey Professors today. Bernie Lubbers sent me a pretty detailed description of mash bills and why having the same is nothing to be ashamed of ... lots of factors go into the taste profile ... proof at distillation, proof at bottling, time in the barrel, etc. He seemed to indicate that the same mash bill can still produce very different bourbons if you tweak other factors.

            Please do let me know if there was an article with that information. I'll gladly follow up and see if it or I was mistaken! Thanks and cheers!

            1. re: JasonFalls
              JMF Apr 16, 2008 03:38 AM

              Jason, I would love to see that info about mash bills, how the batch was 'tweaked', etc.

              1. re: JMF
                JasonFalls Apr 16, 2008 08:06 AM

                Here's what Bernie emailed me. It makes a lot of sense. In addition to the distillation proof, bottle proof, age, etc., there's also the yeast factor. Different strains of yeast yield different taste effects. At any rate, here's Bernie's thing:

                "Most bourbon companies have just one grain bill. We have more than one. However, even IF we only had one grain bill, we could make several TOTALLY different bourbons by different ages and proofs. If I brought the same bourbon grain bill off the still at 120 proof, and one at 130, and another at 140, and then barreled them at 120, 125, and 125 (water added to last 2 to get to the maximum barrel proof of 125) and then aged the first for 4 years, the second for 6 years, and the third for 8 years, and then we bottled one at 80 proof, another at 90 proof, and another at 100 proof, we would have 3 very distinctively different bourbons."

                Hope that helps. I love the fact that we're having a conversation about it. I know you folks make me smarter about it. I'm not a novice, but I'm not a master bourbon brain, either.

                1. re: JasonFalls
                  JMF Apr 16, 2008 05:54 PM

                  I'm actually starting some research on types of toast and char in barrels, barrel proof, time, headspace, temperatures, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I have a university going to do chromatography and other tests to try and nail down exactly what happens in the barrel.

                  The bit about controlling proof out of the still is interesting as well. It all depends what type of still, how you run it. Slow, fast, etc.

                  I don't know if I agree with the comment that most companies have just one grain bill. Just about every distiller I have spoken to talks about their different grain bills depending upon the product.

              2. re: JasonFalls
                sku Apr 16, 2008 11:13 AM

                Absoultely agree on that, proof, age, barrel finish, etc. all go into making a whiskey distinct. I much prefer Booker's among the small batch, largely because of the higher proof I think.

                By the way, do you work for Beam Global? If so, can you give us any information about the new Ardmore being released for US sales? I'd be interested to know when it will come out, how widely it's being distributed, what expressiosn, etc.


        2. a
          AlbertaHound Apr 13, 2008 10:15 PM

          Maybe you're actuallty coming to your senses that this whole elite, skyrocket price thing is a charade - the emperor mostly wears no clothes. In my opinion Jim Beam is all you need. If you're drinking it neat, at room temp, then maybe you'll notice the difference between Maker's Mark or Jack, Then again you may prefer Beam. Otherwise, save your money and laugh at the dorks who insist on all that other artifice.

          8 Replies
          1. re: AlbertaHound
            Papa Kip Chee Apr 14, 2008 02:27 PM


            1. re: Papa Kip Chee
              mmalmad Apr 14, 2008 02:30 PM

              I often buy the Jim Beam Black, and really like it. The Times did a review a few months ago and agreed

              1. re: mmalmad
                bigjeff Apr 29, 2008 11:50 PM

                ya totally saw that review and for a price/quality ratio, good stuff.

            2. re: AlbertaHound
              lennox53 Apr 14, 2008 06:23 PM

              No offense, but that's just crazy talk. Even if Jim Beam is your favorite, you can't tell me that there's no discernible difference between it and other bourbons. Yes, I drink it neat, but even on the rocks it's pretty easy to tell two brown liquors apart. It's not vodka. If you can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, you can certainly tell one bourbon from another.

              1. re: lennox53
                AlbertaHound Apr 16, 2008 04:41 PM

                No offense taken. But still, I submit that the difference is subtle, even with bourbons. So...if you're mixing it, or even if you aren't savoring it, I say your income better be disposable if you're spending more than you do for Jim Beam.

                Just to be sure it's clear, I'm not saying all bourbon is that close to each other. The well swill is pretty bad, and will deliver you a hangover as easy as anything. But once you get to up the echelon of Beam, Jack, or even Ezra, my point is that the returns on the extra money you spend start to diminish to razor thin margins.

                Papa Kip Chee - Amen to you too brother!

              2. re: AlbertaHound
                mcmachete Apr 15, 2008 02:01 AM

                There are definitely tasty gems of all sorts of spirits that can be found at a fair price, but I wouldn't go that far.

                1. re: AlbertaHound
                  cavandre Aug 7, 2009 04:45 PM

                  If you're going to have more than 1 drink, then from the 2nd drink on I think you're throwing your money away.

                  What's even more idiotic is the folks spending $30 or more on a bottle (750ml) of vodka & then using it to make Cosmos. The prophet was right...this is one born every minute.

                  1. re: AlbertaHound
                    StriperGuy Aug 8, 2009 09:04 AM

                    Never mind that many of the Old timey sounding, super pricey small batch bourbon's didn't even exist 15 years ago. Marketing baby all marketing.

                  2. t
                    theginguy Apr 15, 2008 05:10 PM

                    I have a good friend of mine who is in his early 40's that only drinks JB White. That's it, nothing else, liquor wise. He has an occasional beer and glass of wine, but his whisky of choice is JB white label. He doesn't ever get anything else....

                    It blows my mind, but it's what he likes and that's what he sticks with. I've tried turning him on to slightly better whiskies, but he just keeps on plugg'n along with his half gallon of JB White a week.

                    I myself can't stand it. It's way to young and rough for me. Plus I don't like the "corn, peanut, charred oak" character found in a lot of bourbons. So JB and JD are out for my personal taste.

                    I'm more of a Buffalo Trace kind of guy.

                    But at the end of the day, it's what ever your happy with. But I would just suggest a couple of things.

                    Go out and buy a bottle of Buffalo Trace, JB white and Elijah Craig and test them neat. See if you can tell the difference in quality. If you really like the taste of JB white, I would guess that you might just like Elijah Craig a little bit more, because it's not as harsh, but at the same time, it has very close taste characteristics.

                    I drink my whisky neat and my pet peave is smelling ethanol. I like to "nose" my whisky almost as much as drink it. So I absolutely don't like young whisky.

                    But Elijah Craig is a pretty good budget whisky that always remains on my shelf and it's very close in price to JB white. But I don't dip into it very much. Like I said, my main bourbon is Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare. But I prefer scotch more.

                    1. Sam Fujisaka Apr 15, 2008 10:39 PM

                      The normal Jim Beam white label is my favorite of all bourbons and whiskeys.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                        alanbarnes Apr 14, 2011 05:38 PM

                        Tipping a glass in your memory right now, my friend.

                      2. p
                        Pantz Apr 16, 2008 03:25 PM

                        Up here in Ontario, there were some good years when the premium bourbon fad occurred. Our Liquor Control Board (LCBO) stocked some wonderful items.

                        Unfortunately, we're almost back to the days of Jack Daniels, Jim Beam White, Wild Turkey and not much else.

                        Of the "premium" stuff still available, Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve and Knob Creek are stocked in most bigger stores.

                        Both Makers and Knob Creek have experienced steep price climbs in the last two years. Both are hovering under around $45 a bottle. And that's with our dollar pretty much at par!

                        I'm generally a fan of the Beam family, so Knob Creek is my go-to Bourbon. Booker's when it was of a good batch was amazing. However, it could be very uneven. Bakers was my favourite of the small batch collection.

                        However, the basic JB White? Extremely bland to my taste. On the rocks probably made the White so enjoyable. Mediocre liquor usually tastes better chilled and diluted.

                        Fortunately, the JB Black is now stocked in some stores. The extra proof and age really make a difference. If you can get it, I would recommend it highly. It's only slightly more expensive and twice the bourbon JB White is.

                        We did have Buffalo Trace for a while and I agree with theginguy, it's a great whisky, at any price. If it get's listed up here again, I'm sure it'll be priced much higher that it was previously in our market.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Pantz
                          ed1066 Apr 16, 2008 03:33 PM

                          Holy cow! Maker's is $45 a bottle! I pay about $20-$22 in California, and I got the 1.75L for $30.99 at Costco a few months back. Great for parties!

                          1. re: ed1066
                            bigjeff Apr 29, 2008 11:51 PM

                            last time I visited San Fran, we hit the BevMo in Richmond and I pretty much flipped out at all the prices (easily half what I pay in nyc). you guys have it way too good there.

                        2. rednyellow May 13, 2008 07:41 PM

                          You may be crazy, but you ain't no fool. Beam is good. Factor in the price and it is very good.

                          1. StriperGuy Aug 7, 2009 08:04 AM

                            I love Jim Beam white and Black. For mixing, sours, manhattans, etc I prefer white, for sipping JB Black.

                            They won gold and double gold respectively in the 2009 SF world Spirits competition.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: StriperGuy
                              oystersallday Aug 7, 2009 08:47 AM

                              good for jim. thanks for posting this. it's also amazing how smirnoff always kicks it in the vodka categories.

                            2. JonParker Aug 13, 2009 06:38 AM

                              I'm not a big fan of Beam's bourbon, but when my local place was out of Old Overholt a while back I bought some of their rye and liked it quite a bit.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: JonParker
                                sku Aug 13, 2009 10:01 AM

                                That makes sense. Old Overholt is made by Jim Beam. It uses the same recipe as Beam Rye, though Overholt is four years old and Beam rye doesn't carry an age statement (meaning it is at least two years old). If you like one, chances are you will like the other.

                                1. re: sku
                                  Canadian Tuxedo Aug 13, 2009 01:58 PM

                                  That's very interesting. Thanks for the info. I use the two interchangeably in cocktails, and never noticed much of a difference. But the cocktail "in-crowd" always touts Old Overholt, so I often felt some peer pressure to look for that bottle even if Jim Beam Rye was sitting on the shelf right in front of me.

                                  1. re: sku
                                    ravchaz Aug 14, 2009 03:10 AM

                                    If it doesn't carry an age statement it is at least four years old. Between two and four, it must carry an age statement. Lower than two and it cannot be labeled as "straight" rye.

                                    1. re: ravchaz
                                      sku Aug 14, 2009 07:07 PM

                                      Thanks Ravchaz. You are, of course, correct. I was thinking of the straight requirement when I typed two years instead of four. Thanks.

                                    2. re: sku
                                      TroyTempest Jan 27, 2010 09:36 AM

                                      When i see the 2 side by side on the liquor store shelf, the Jim Beam Ryse is usually more expensive, though both are a pretty good deal.

                                    3. re: JonParker
                                      bigjeff Aug 15, 2009 07:26 PM

                                      not that I watch "Mad Men" but I did read the article about alcohol's place in the show and apparently one of the main characters always has Old Overholt?

                                    4. s
                                      sarge Jan 27, 2010 07:26 AM

                                      For what it is worth,I prefer to drink Jim Beam on a regular basis. I think one of the things I like about it is it is only 80 proof. For whatever reason, it seems I can have an extra drink or 2 and not feel like roadkill the next day.

                                      I would like to see some small batch stuff at 80 proof. It seems it's all in the 90's or more. I hope that JasonFalls reads this and comments

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