Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jim Beam Jacob's Ghost White Whiskey Review:

I won’t go on another rant about the litigious category of white whiskey for I’ve already done that. But with Jim Beam’s, still fairly new, release of Jacob’s Ghost, I believe we are finally starting to see some sort of defining categorization, or at least a product which will drive the category in a foreseeable direction. Aptly called a white whiskey, Jacob’s Ghost is a whiskey in the real sense. Using the very same mash bill as Jim Beam’s White Label, Jacob’s Ghost has at least one year of aging with an added filtration process to remove any of the color gained from the barrel. The very target groups of this label, I believe, are mixologist. With the initial youngness transformed by a little age, Jacob’s Ghost proves to be a capable mixer, enough to take the place of a simple vodka cocktail.

Jim Beam Jacob’s Ghost White Whiskey:

Price: Around $21.99 for a 750ml bottle. A don’t understand why they are charging more than the white label which takes years more to mature, but that’s a whole other issue. At least they didn’t do what Jack Daniels did by charging a fortune for their white dog.

Packaging/Labeling: Just ok. The “ghost of Jacob” sticker on the front is very cheap and tacky.  

Alcoholic Content: 40% abv, 80 proof. I would have expected more at the price point.

Nose: The nose impressed me much more than I anticipated. An inviting, light, clean and sweet first impression. This is no white dog. It has a vanilla and grainy sweetness. An oaky-ness does come through as well as some pure malt – not unlike some white malt whiskies I have nosed, yet more refined.

Palate:  A viscous palate with lightly oaked vanilla, cereals and a spicy, very dry finish. It literally sweeps up all the moister in your mouth, leaving you a bit thirsty. It’s calling for a mixer, and with the lack of barrel sweetness I think I could really get into it by mixing it with ginger ale.

Conclusion: Pleasantly surprised by this. It’s a very solid entry into the category. I can’t find many negative points, beside the dryness. Hence, it doesn't do very well as a simple nightcap, unless you have some ice in it. Geoff Kleinman of made a very good point by stating that “in some ways Jacob’s Ghost is the flip side of the coin from Jim Beam’s Devil’s Cut. Rather than pumping up the oak, Jacob’s Ghost reduces the impact of the barrel on the whiskey and creates a spirit that is light, dry, and easy to drink, especially with soda.” Hopefully this all means that Jim Beam will be breaking into more experimentation, like Buffalo Trace has been doing for quite some time. Is it something I would tell you to go out and purchase right now? No. But if you need something for a party and want to change things up, you should try Jacob’s Ghost.


  1. "Price: Around $21.99 for a 750ml bottle. A don’t understand why they are charging more than the white label which takes years more to mature, but that’s a whole other issue"

    My guess would be that they expect to attract customers who seek something "different" and who have long ago stopped buying Beam white label. Among those new customers, many will say, "well, that's nice" and never buy another bottle, but there are (hopefully) many more who'll feel they've found the perfect white whiskey.

    BTW, the process is nothing new. So-called "white rum" is often created by aging new-make for a year or longer in oak barrels, which greatly improves the flavor over that of the raw distillate, and then charcoal-filtering the color out it to make it the desired "platino" clear. In Puerto Rico (and some other islands) that is not just a tradition, it's the law. I'm not sure what the law is in the U.S.V.I., but Beam's Cruzan distillery uses that same process. The technology of St. Croix is quite well-known to the folks in Clermont.

    I'd have preferred this at something higher than 80 proof, though. As you pointed out, it wants to be mixed with something, and that smoothness won't cut through most mixers. Ginger ale? Maybe. Also, maybe something with lots of acid or hot pepper/horseradish. This would make a blow-away Bloody Mary. In fact, I'm gonna try it in one tomorrow morning.

    "Packaging/Labeling: Just ok. The “ghost of Jacob” sticker on the front is very cheap and tacky"

    Not sure about tacky -- didn't Elmer T. Lee already do something like that? Maybe they should have stuck it on the back of the bottle, showing through. What hit me right between the headlights, though, is how much good ol' Jake looks like Freddie Noe with sideburns. Am I the only one who sees that? :=))

    1. It's possible, but I wouldn't say they are only targeting those who stopped buying white label. I don't know many people who have "stopped" anyway. The price has to do with the fact that it is more expensive than the white label with less work involved. Those who do buy whiskey regularly will see this.

      And yes it is not a new process. Though not all white rum is aged. But in the whiskey world, it is fairly new.

      As for the sticker, I am not commenting on the fact that there is a face on the bottle, we see that on hundreds of spirits. What is tacky is the cheap material and the sticker used. This is tacky. If they are charging more than the white label, they should at least make something as esthetically on par. The face is fine, but the quality is not.

  2. "It's the wrong time...
    It's the wrong face...
    Though his face is ugly, its the wrong face"

    (with apologies to Cole Porter :=))

  3. The sticker is probably not as cheap as you think. It is a flexible, clear lenticular which allows the eyes of Jacob to animate back and forth.

    1. Do I really have to explain this...? I don't care if it cost $100 to make. It looks bad, it's tacky and is completely unnecessary. And besides, I don't want to see Jacobs eyes moving.I just want a good product that took care and thought to make.

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