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Whisky Reviews

Jim Beam Lineage, 55.5% ABV

   

You'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't at least heard of Jim Beam.

The brand's origins date back to 1795 when Jacob Beam, a German immigrant, sold his first barrels of corn whiskey. This would be the foundation for what would become a storied legacy in the world of bourbon.

Jacob Beam's distilling techniques were passed down through generations, with each successor refining and enhancing the family recipe.

Particularly in 1933 after the repeal of Prohibition, James Beauregard Beam, better known as Jim Beam, rebuilt the distillery by hand in Clermont, Kentucky. It was under his leadership that the brand adopted the name "Jim Beam" a decade later.

Generations later, Jim Beam Lineage is an attestation to Jim Beam’s rich familial ties and distilling heritage.

 


(Image source: Beam Suntory Inc.)

 

This offering is a premium expression that showcases a collaboration between the distillery’s seventh and eighth generation distillers 一 Master Distiller Fred Noe and his son Freddie Noe. It is also the first bourbon from the distillery to feature Freddie’s name.

Originally distilled in 2004, this bourbon was finished off in charred white oak barrels in Jim Beam's Rackhouse K for 15 years before being bottled at 111 proof. 

The whiskey follows the traditional Jim Beam mash bill, consisting of 77% corn, 13% rye, and 10% malted barley.

 

(Image source: u/Phantomspirit90 via Reddit)

 


Unfortunately, this special edition was primarily intended for the global travel retail market. While I’m certain there are bottles still nestled comfortably in the duty-free stores of certain airports, it remains a mythical find in your average liquor shop. Even a search on Jim Beam’s official website turns up no results, which puts this bottle on the cusp of complete obscurity.  

But since we got our hands on some, we’ll save you the mystery (and plane tickets) and tell you what to expect.

Jim Beam Lineage, 55.5% ABV - Review

 

 

Tasting Notes

Color: Dark Amber

Nose: The classic Jim Beam creamy vanilla and caramel notes right off the bat, with a sweetness that you really just can’t ignore. A testament to its age, a prominent oak scent is next in line. It’s got a fair bit of that Jim Beam peanut nuttiness beneath that develops into raisin. Let it sit for a while and you are assaulted with a corn-husk scent. Lingering around during this period is also an elusive smidge of chocolate. Frankly, it’s all the good parts of a Jim Beam White Label magnified and more. It also kind of reminds me of an old (but not that old) wooden trunk that your father might have stashed away somewhere. Although lovely, its aroma lasts shorter than I anticipated. Word of advice: Nose more than once for full effect.

Palate: Just a good amount of punchy, with an oily feel that nicely envelops the tongue. The oak is still there, taking turns with that caramel sweetness. Also in the room is moderate spice with a little bitterness toward the back end of the palate. While I’m not quite certain where the bitterness comes from, the oak would most likely be responsible. There is definitely some amount of smokiness and citrus that is thrown into the mix. 

Finish: The finish is medium in length. Lasting just a little longer than my initial whiff when nosing the dram, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. A lovely sweetness fades gently. The oak that’s been with us for the better part leaves the stage reluctantly, making way for a more pronounced dry spice, while the initial nuttiness pokes its head back for a quick goodbye.

 

 

Final Thoughts

If nothing else, it’s a good old fashioned Kentucky bourbon. The flavors are torrential on the palate, and you’ll definitely need more than one taste to get them all. Despite this, this warm, bold bourbon invites you into its embrace with a good amount of smoothness, stopping short of being overwhelming. It smells great, tastes good, and leaves politely but with attitude. Its mouthfeel could, however, use a little more richness.

All in all, I must say I’ve been quite taken by this offering by Jim Beam. Despite my wariness for travel retail releases, this bourbon is truly delicious, and I would have it as a daily pour if it was more readily available. Please pick one up if you’re traveling in the near future and see this bottle. If you don’t enjoy bourbon, pick one up nonetheless, and have it promptly mailed to me at your earliest convenience.

 


Lok Bing Hong

A budding journalist that loves experiencing new things and telling people's stories. I have 30 seconds of coherence a day. I do not decide when they come. They are not consecutive.