Friday, December 14, 2012

A Gateway Bourbon: Jim Beam White Label Bourbon Review

“You know family is big and me and dad had a good ride together and one of these days we’ll be back together. My job is to make sure that his Bourbon is still as good as it always was.” - Fred Booker Noe III

The scotch reviews have been dominating so I thought I would bring things back to center with a new bourbon review. Jim Beam, of Beam Inc. is the best selling bourbon in the world, and one cannot turn their nose up to this simple, inexpensive, and if I say so, nicely made mass produced product. When approaching something like Jim Beam White Label it needs to be known at the start that this is not supposed to be Knob Creek, Bookers, or any of Beam's other high-end brands. This is a product which is all about consistency. It's for the masses and it's supposed to appeal to bartenders and mixologist. And even though this whiskey is young, we also know that 4 more years produces a great go-to bourbon. As I already reviewed the Black Label, with good marks no doubt, we know the potential in the White Label is present. This means that the desire for a quality product is there - Beam craftsmanship cannot be overlooked due to its large size. Needless to say, if we are not expecting high end, does it mean we should expect a “bad” bourbon? No, not at all. If you mix this in a cocktail, like I do, great. If you enjoy drinking this on the rocks, excellent. Don’t let anyone scoff at you for enjoying of this. This is a great spirit to introduce one into the world of bourbon. Not a benchmarker, but it is good enough to lay the groundwork to eventually make your way into the higher end stuff. Call it a gateway bourbon – if it does its job beyond the cocktail, it will entice one to keep on looking for more flavor, more complexity, and more enjoyment.

Jim Beam White Label Bourbon Review:

Price: Found this Jim Beam White Label for $12.99.Can't really beat that.

Packaging/Labeling: Jim Beam all the way. Classy, traditional and American. The screw top is fine - a cork would actually be out of place on the bottle.

Alcoholic Content: 40% abv, 80 proof.

Nose: Light and soft. You do get some of the more phenolic notes on the front, yet they do yield to young apple and strawberry cream. Sweet corn husk, vanilla, and wood dust.

Palate: A bit lifeless on the arrival. Char on the sides develop into honey, nuts, and an almost grape sweetness in the background. Graininess melts into a little red spice, and a bit of liquorice which is so distinctive in the JB Black. Wood tannins break away into a neat corn finish... very pleasant corn finish actually.    

Conclusion: I’m amazed that it can actually be as “enjoyable” as it is at this age. If any suggestion would come to JB White Label, I would ask that they raise the abv up 3 or 5 percent. With the increasing interest and growing trend for higher proof whiskey the last few years, this is the perfect way to present the product as a more serious bourbon. Ideally, I would love to see a Jim Beam 100 or 101 expression. I do recommend this for beginners, and cocktails alike. There are betters bourbons out there, but this is not in any way to be dismissed.


  1. bout to try it :)

  2. Nothing entry level about Beam white. It's a decent bourbon, just not a great bourbon. For everyday consumption it's really nice. As mentioned it's NOT black label, but then again it doesn't claim to be.