Jim Beam Maple and Jim Beam Hardcore Cider

As the nights draw in, my mind turns to the comforting and warming drinks and liqueurs that I can pour to stay cosy in the evenings. Whisky liqueurs are typically a good choice for this sort of thing, so I was pleased to receive two samples of Jim Beam’s latest offerings from our friend, Seva, in NJ.

Jim Beam already have a cavalcade of whiskey liqueurs and flavoured whiskies, such as Red Stag Black Cherry, Red Stag Honey Tea, Jim Beam Honey, and Jim Beam Winter Punch.
Jim Beam Maple Bottle Flavored WhiskyJim Beam Maple (35% ABV)

The first sample to try today is Jim Beam Maple, a bourbon that has been infused with natural flavours and is bottled at 35% ABV.

Nose: Initially, a powerful burst of thick, sticky maple syrup, followed by darker notes of molasses, dark rum, a little Pedro Ximenez and sweet coffee. Finally, there are some liquorice at the end.
Taste: A lovely, strong smooth flavour of genuine maple syrup. Very sweet without being heavy or sticky in texture. This is reminiscent of American style pancakes and syrup, backed up by vanilla and dark caramel. The mouthfeel is of a bourbon, but the flavour is really dominated by the rich, sappy maple. The same flavour continues on the finish, only with less of the sweetness, which means that it is lasting, but not cloying.

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Jim Bam Red Stag Hardcore Cider BottleJim Beam Red Stag Hardcore Cider (40% ABV)

Our second flavoured bourbon is Hardcore Cider, which is infused with cider and natural flavours. It joins the previous Red Stag varieties of Black Cherry, Spiced and Honey Tea.

Nose: Another strong nose, this time of very sweet apple, like Applejack sweets here in the UK (the apple variety of Fruit Salad or Blackjack chewy sweets). It’s vibrant, but rather artificial in its sugary sweetness, although after a while you can also pick up notes of pear and vanilla.
Taste: Silky smooth in texture, almost syrupy, but not as heavy. The initial flavour is very sweet and a tad richer than expected, with confectionery notes of apple, vanilla and hints of other fruits like banana and papaya. The finish is lightly warming and sweet, mainly consisting of vanilla and sweet apple.
In Conclusion

Once again, Jim Beam have produced two very flavourful varieties of their bourbon, each with very distinctive flavour profiles. The Maple was easily my favourite, with a rich, genuine flavour that fits in perfectly next to Jim Beam’s other varieties. I think it will work particularly well in warming, seasonal drinks and am eager to try it in a toddy; I’ll report back on how this goes shortly.

I think the Red Stag Hardcore Cider works less well, especially on its own, where it seems less “hardcore” and more like an apple liqueur. Then again, maybe I am biased because of the dry cider that DT favours! That said, I’m sure that it, too, could be used well in mixed drinks like toddies, especially alongside an extra drop or two of bourbon and some bitters to balance out some of the sweetness.

Well, if I wasn’t craving a toddy before, I am now…

– Mrs. B.

Follow Jim Beam on Twitter @jimbeamuk

Your chance to visit the Jim Beam Stillhouse – in London!

On 21 and 22 November 2013, Jim Beam will transport bourbon-loving Londoners over the rolling hills of Kentucky and into the world-class Jim Beam Stillhouse which will stand, for two nights only, in The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, London.

Visitors will then travel through tunnels deep into the Stillhouse for an intriguing glimpse into the Distillation and Ageing Room, bringing them closer to the bourbon-making process. Immersive theatre will bring to life the unique proprietary process used to create Jim Beam’s most intense member of the family, Devil’s Cut, whilst guests revel in a taste of the extraordinary new bourbon.A flavour explosion awaits in The Mixology Room where bartenders will serve up a playful cocktail experience. Here guests can enjoy the infused flavours of Red Stag by Jim Beam and Jim Beam Honey.

The journey will culminate with the unique opportunity for guests to make their mark on Jim Beam’s history, before being brought back out onto the bustling streets of Shoreditch, by signing their name on an authentic American oak barrel, which will be taken back to the distillery in Kentucky, filled and aged. All Stillhouse attendees will then receive a bottle of Jim Beam White from the special barrel four years later.

 The price of tickets is £5 (plus booking fee) and spaces are limited. Available through Eventbrite

When: Thursday 21 November, from 6pm – 10pm
Friday 22 November, from 6pm – 10pm

Where: The Boiler House at the Old Truman Brewery
91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

Bookings: Book your time session at https://jimbeamstillhouse.eventbrite.com

Cocktails with… Red Stag from Jim Beam

Earlier on in the year, I was reintroduced to Jim Beam Red Stag. DBS & I first tried this on a trip to Florida a few years ago, where it seemed to be widely available, especially in the form of miniatures. Now that it’s available in the UK, we’ve spotted it in a few bars (alongside some wacky promotions, like free sunglasses) and again at the Boutique Bar Show earlier on in the year. Having tried it again at the latter, I was keen to review it and explore its versatility.Red Stag isn’t a liqueur, but rather a flavour infused bourbon and is bottled at 40%ABV. Jim Beam start off with a four-year-old bourbon, to which they add natural black cherry flavour. Simple, straight-forward, but a little bit different.

On its own

The nose was of sweet bourbon, with hints of cherry and what I thought was an underlying hint of pear juice. On the tongue, it was lightly silky, with lots of sweet cherry flavours to start. The flavours of the underlying spirit then fade in as the sweetness dries out, leaving a pleasant, clean finish. As it does so, a strong, lasting, delicious warmth develops.

with Ginger Ale

This had a fresh nose of cherry and lemon. On the tongue, sweet cherry notes flow into the faint warmth of the ginger. Oak and vanilla notes follow. Highlighted by the ginger, the flavour of the bourbon comes through impressively, making this somewhat reminiscent of a warmer, cherry-based version of fruit cup.

Manhattan

The sweet, vanilla and woody characteristics of the Jim Beam White (which is the base of Red Stag) come through, as well as a cherry jam doughnut note. Good and very sweet. The Red Vermouth gives a herbal complexity that sits quietly in the background. Towards the finish, there was a confectionery, almond note, ending on a very slight bitterness. This would be an excellent way to introduce people to bourbon.

Old Fashioned

1 part Red Stag, 1 part Jim Beam White, …
Incredibly smooth and not overly sweet, I thought this was a marvellous twist on one of my favourite cocktails. There were orange and cherry flavours to start, before the lighter versions of the familiar flavours of Jim Beam, predominantly a light woodiness, fade in. The bourbon notes build up a little as you continue to drink, which is dangerously easy to do. Essentially, a lighter, fruiter version of the Old Fashioned.

Bramble

Very sweet at the start, this had a cherry/raspberry jammy aftertaste that lasted for a good while. The warmth from the whiskey followed at the back of my throat and my stomach and, afterwards, I experienced a slightly sour sensation, akin to lemon sherbet. DBS thought this gave the drink an interesting sweet/sour balance, making it halfway to a whiskey sour.

Julep

Again, this had a very sweet, fruity start, with the drier, woody flavour of the bourbon growing through afterwards. The mint comes along with the sweetness, making it more of a sweet peppermint flavour, rather than the strong, independent mint flavour of a normal julep. Another interesting twist on a classic drink that’s lighter than the original; perfect for trying over the festive period.

Hot Toddy

As with most toddies, this had a lovely nose, rising with the steam; there was a sweet, fragrant scent of cherry, much like cherry flavoured boiled sweets or sherbet. To taste, the flavour was predominantly of cherry and lemon, which was followed by a glowing warmth from the bourbon. There was a definite sherbet sourness to this drink, making for a fresh, light toddy.

In Conclusion…

I’ve liked Red Stag ever since I first tried it. It adds another dimension (and one that’s likely to be more familiar to newcomers to the spirit) to the bourbon, enabling you to make some interesting twists on cocktails. If you find yourself wanting something with more bourbon flavours and less cherry, mixing 1:1 with Jim Beam White works marvellously. My favourite ways of drinking it were neat, in an Old Fashioned and a Hot Toddy – perfect for warming you up during the winter.

– Mrs. B

Jim Beam Red Stag is avaialble for around £23 for 70cl from The Whisky Exchange,  Master of MaltDrinkShop

STOP THE PRESSES! Red Stag is also to but from Tesco at the bargain price of £16.31 for 70cl.

WOW8 – Southern Comfort Reserve

I first heard about this after David’s trip to Wisconsin, he saw this in duty free at Chicago airport but, being under 21, he was unable to purchase it. It wasn’t until four years later that we found it again in the duty free of Orlando airport. We’ve been waiting a long time to taste it.

Southern Comfort Reserve is a blend of regular Southern Comfort and a 6 year old Bourbon; it is bottled at 40%ABV as opposed to the regular 35%ABV.

Nose: sweet nail polish, not necessarily in a bad way, however there is no harsh alcohol present. A more pleasant sweetness at the end.

Taste: quite sweet with a syrupy texture and very pleasant. A faint hint of anise at the start moving on to some honeyed sweetness with whiskey and wood on the finish. This a smooth liqueur with minimal burn.

This is probably one of the most pleasing whisk(e)y liqueurs to drink on its own, this is because the whiskey flavours are still quite prominent. Unlike many whisk(e)y liqueurs there is little to no herbal notes and the flavour of sweet bourbon reminds me of a naked julep (no mint).

I imagine some people would like this drink lengthened, with lemonade or soda, but I would consider that a bit of a waste as this is one of the most accessible liqueurs I have tried.

If you’re not put off by the slightly strange nose, which seems oddly disconnected from the flavour, this is a very pleasant, very sippable liqueur and one I highly recommend.

For other Whisk(e)y Liqueur Reviews, click here