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

WOW 35 – Jim Beam Hot Punch Whiskey

WOW34 Title

JimBeamHotPunchBottle

This week it’s been rather chilly in the UK, certainly for the end of February, and so it seems appropriate that, as the Siberian winds swirl, I let you know of another way to keep warm: the whiskey way; namely, Jim Beam Hot Punch. Anyone who’s popped down to see the guys at The Whisky Exchange at London Bridge will probably have noticed their display of white-labelled bottles from a famous Lynchburg distillery (Jack Daniels Winter Punch), so it’s little surprise that this equally unusual bottle came from the same source.

We reviewed Jack Daniels Winter Punch here and it has been a firm favourite with various friends and family ever since. Jim Beam Hot Punch appears to be in a similar vein; both are bottled at 15%ABV and both appear to be made for the German market.

Here is the sidebar from Jim Beam Hot Punch:

JimBeamHotPunch Sidebar

The Taste

Cold
Nose: Whoa! I was not expecting that. Sugary notes of peach, pineapple and strawberry, all combined with a bubblegum-esque flavour and creamy, vanilla undertones. Without a doubt, this reminds me strongly of gummy/foam ice-cream cone sweets.
Taste: Smooth and very easy to sip. There’s a burst of sweet fruitiness to start that then dries out, but the vanilla and gummy/gelatine flavour remains. A tiny hint of warmth appears at the back of the throat, but nothing major (it’s only 15%ABV after all). The main flavours are, like on the nose, pineapple, peach, apricot, strawberry and apple. Despite this, it’s not overly sugary, but it definitely has a confectionery flavour to it that I didn’t expect.

JimBeamHotPunch HOT

Warm
Nose: The same gummy-ice-cream-sweet flavour, with notes of vanilla and fruit, only slightly more sickly than when served cold (mainly via the vapours).
Taste: More potent than the cold version. The sweet flavours transform into a fruity, tart flavour that’s almost sour, like gooseberries, or cooked fruit – pears or apples – with vanilla and a tiny hint of cinnamon. This serve is obviously much more warming, too.

In Conclusion
All-in-all, I thought this was a little odd. The broad sweep of sweet, fruit flavours reminded me more of summer than winter (in contrast to the packaging and concept) and, unlike the Winter Jack, it doesn’t have any seasonal, spicy notes. Additionally, unlike the Jim Beam Red Stag flavoured Bourbons, I couldn’t really get any whiskey notes after all of the fruitiness. Despite this, I’m sure many people will enjoy it; just not if they’re after a whiskey!

– Mrs. B.

Jim Beam Hot Punch is available in the UK but The Whisky exchange seems to be the only place that stock it. It is available online at £15 for 70cl.

For other sweet Jim Beam treats, why not check out our reviews of Jim Beam Honey or Cherry Red Stag and, if you happen to be in the US, the Red Stag Spice or Red Stag Honey Tea may be of interest.

WoW 32 – Jim Beam Red Stag – Spiced with Cinnamon

Last week, I reviewed Jim Beam Honey Tea, which was kindly sent over by Seva (of Seva’s Sunday). This followed Jim Beam’s release of a cherry bourbon (Red Stag or Red Stag Black Cherry) and was close on the heels of their honey bourbon (Jim Beam Honey). Today, we are looking a companion release to Honey Tea: Red Stag Spiced.

Like Honey Tea, this is based on Jim Beam White Label and bottled at a very respectable 40% ABV and is flavoured with spices (the primary spice being cinnamon. Interestingly, Evan Williams recently released a Cinnamon Whisky Liqueur in the UK, which we reviewed here.

What did it taste like?

Nose: Like the Honey Tea, I was once again pleased to find the characteristically sweet (light caramel) and woody (vanilla oak) Jim Beam nose on this flavoured whiskey. This time, however, it was accompanied by the warmth of the kind of “red” cinnamon that you get in cinnamon candy; it also reminded me of aniseed balls. There were also some other spices in the mix, reminding me of spiced biscuits.

Taste: Exceptionally sweet and syrupy to start, followed by strong warmth from the cinnamon, which – again – came across as that more raw, “red” cinnamon flavour. I thought that the cinnamon was more gentle than the Evan Williams Cinnamon, but some of this may have been the additional sweetness.

The spicy warmth was met by a good warmth from the bourbon. The more traditional bourbon notes are definitely there (easier to find if you are familiar with Jim Beam), but the spice really does take centre stage.

Finish: There almost seemed to be two finishes to this (!): the first was very sugary, but this faded into a much drier one, more in line with cinnamon sticks or powder. Pleasantly, the warmth of the whisky continued after everything else had disappeared.

In Conclusion
I thought this was another good addition to Jim Beam’s range of flavoured bourbons and was surprised to find that I actually preferred it to the Honey Tea. DTS – a big fan of cinnamon – enjoyed it, too, and noted that it had very good Autumn/Winter cocktail potential, which I thoroughly agree with. It could put a fantastic twist on any cocktail that needs some bourbon along with sugar; I’m looking forward to experimenting with toddies, an Old Fashioned and possibly a Manhattan when we can get hold of a full-size bottle.

Jim Beam Honey – WOW26

Over the past couple of years, there has been a bit of shift in the whisk(e)y liqueur market: whilst the Scotch liqueurs (Glenfiddich, Famous Grouse and the excellent Macallan Amber) have all been discontinued, there has been a rise from the other side of the pond with products from American Whiskey producers such as Evan Williams, Wild Turkey, Jack Daniels and, now, Jim Beam.

When we spotted this latest introduction to Jim Beam’s range, we jumped at the chance to try it. I am a big fan of Jim Beam’s Red Stag (bourbon infused with natural black cherry flavours), which takes their good, solid bourbon and adds another dimension of cherry without overpowering with artificial flavours or sugar, and so I was excited to get some of the new Jim Beam Honey in my glass.


What I found especially intriguing was the fact that I couldn’t find this product anywhere on Jim Beam’s American website; our sources tell us that this is because Honey was recently trialled in the German market, before being produced for the UK.

Like Red Stag, Jim Beam Honey isn’t a liqueur, but rather a flavoured bourbon; the label calls it a “spirit drink”. It’s a rich, dark caramel in colour and is 35% ABV. The bottle is the familiar Jim Beam shape, but the label has a subtly raised honeycomb pattern, which is a nice addition.

Now, onto the spirit…

The nose is light and sweet, full of vanilla and caramel notes that gradually give way to light woody notes. I occasionally caught a hint of alcohol at the very end, which faded into an acute sweet sugar note that reminded me of a kind of soft, seaside rock candy that we used to have on holiday when I was younger (it really is amazing how smells can bring back memories!).

Given that this wasn’t a liqueur, I was impressed at the silky, but not syrupy start, which allowed it to flow easily over my tongue without being sticky. I was also surprised at how smooth it managed to be; the start, especially, was remarkably so.

A few seconds later, the warmth kicks in, bringing with it more complex vanilla and oak flavours. The levels of sweetness are perfect for just “lifting” the drink slightly, whilst not taking over. This sweetness and the light and medium wood notes are finally highlighted on the finish with a hint of honey. I liked that the honey notes weren’t overpowering or sickly, but, instead, worked with the strength of this whiskey: the oak.

This product brought back fond memories of when I first tried Red Stag. As with that one, I was impressed by the way that Jim Beam Honey took Jim Beam’s bourbon and simply added another dimension of flavour, whilst not taking anything away from that base spirit. The result is a neat and solid new contender to the honeyed whiskey market and one that I will thoroughly enjoy drinking when I fancy something a little more than bourbon, but nothing as sweet as a liqueur.

– Mrs. B

Jim Beam Honey is available from The Whisky Exchange at around £23 for 70cl

Special thanks to Stephen, Garry and JM for their help in writing this article.

WOW16 – Wild Turkey American Honey – A Whisky Liqueur

This review comes at a time when American whiskey is on the rise, internationally speaking (we have an on-going American rye whiskey shortage in Europe at the moment), and, along with this, comes the rise of the whiskey liqueur; Heaven Hill make the Evan Williams, Jim Beam make Red Stag, and Jack Daniels have recently entered the fray with their Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Liqueur*. But today’s focus is the Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur.
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The nose of American Honey is interesting, but slightly subdued when compared to some other honey liqueurs. The main two elements – unsurprisingly – are a sweet honey note and a heaver one of bourbon. DBS, an old-time fan of Wild Turkey bourbon, was very pleasantly surprised by the nose.
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Interestingly, where I found “Cats’ Eyes” liquorice allsorts in the Evan Williams liqueur, in American Honey, I found the “sandwich” ones. There was definitely a sweet, liquorice scent in there.
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To taste, the liqueur was quite syrupy and rich, with a heavy sweetness right at the beginning that quickly made way for more weighty flavours of bourbon, all smoothly rounded off with a honey finish. There was some warmth, which left my mouth and throat tingling slightly (although there definitely wasn’t any burn).
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I think that it’s worth noting DBS’s opinion here, as he’s a long-time fan of Wild Turkey bourbon (whereas I’ve only tried it a few times). He seemed to be fond of American Honey pretty much instantly, with its very definite bourbon base, although he noted that it was quite sweet. Despite this, we both agreed that it wasn’t as sweet as the other honey liqueurs and, therefore, may be a worth a try if you’re a bourbon fan – regardless of whether or not you usually like liqueurs – and fancy trying something a little different. It might also be something to experiment with in sweet, bourbon-based cocktails, omitting any additional sugar or syrup? I will be sure to write up any future experiments and their results.

– Mrs. B.

* Something I’m very keen to try, if you know where I can get some.