A few months ago Jim Beam announced the release of their latest expression in their flagship line – Jim Beam Double Oak. They were kind enough to send us a sample, but life got in the way, and I’m just now getting around to sharing my review and thoughts of their recent release. Here are a few details to kick things off from the formal product press release:
Aged four years while sitting in freshly charred, new American oak barrels, Jim Beam Double Oak is then transferred to new, charred American oak barrels and aged to taste. The second barreling allows the liquid to develop an even deeper level of intense spiced oakiness and rich caramel, creating a unique bourbon encounter.
“I’m excited to experiment with the double barrel aging process used to create Jim Beam Double Oak,” said Fred Noe, 7th Generation Master Distiller, Jim Beam. “Secondary aging delivers an added complexity to the taste profile and that makes for a unique, premium bourbon experience.
Jim Beam Double Oak will begin hitting shelves in the U.S. this month after launching in select countries worldwide earlier this year. This latest innovation from Jim Beam has a golden amber color and a distinctive spiced oakiness with intense caramel and toffee flavors. The aroma carries rich notes of caramel and vanilla with hints of toasted wood. It is best enjoyed neat, on the rocks or mixed in classic American cocktails and has a suggested retail price of $22.00 for 750ML.
The first question that came to my mind after reading the press release was how would this new expression differ from Jim Beam Black. Like the new Double Oak, Jim Beam Black shares the same mash bill as the original White Label, but it’s aged for almost twice as long giving it a more complex and well-rounded profile. Double Oak gets dumped into a new oak barrel for some additional aging measured in months vs. years as with Jim Beam Black. Would this short-term bolt of new barrel aging change things and result in something unique enough to warrant its bottling and market release?
Let’s go ahead and dive into our Jim Beam Double Oak review and find out.
Jim Beam Double Oak Bourbon Review
Name: Jim Beam Double Oak Bourbon
Proof: 86 proof / 43% ABV
Age: 4 years and then aged to taste in a 2nd brand new barrel
How I Drank It: Neat, in a Glencairn Whisky Glass.
Nose: Corn (typical Jim Beam trait) | Varnish | Maple Syrup | Green Oak
Taste: Sweet Candy Corn | Brown Sugar | Dry Oak
Neat, Splash or Rocks: At only 86 proof I drank this one neat and would recommend doing the same unless you’re going to use it in a mixed drink.
Share With: Fans of Jim Beam will enjoy this expression as it has many of the qualities they’ve come to expect from Jim Beam but with a twist. Fans of other corn forward bourbons will also probably find this one of interest.
Worth The Price: Suggested retail price is $22.99. I did a quick search online and found it for $21.99 on Binnys.com. While the price makes it a great low-cost release – a rarity in 2016 – it’s also the same price as the older (in terms of barrel aging) and well-respected Jim Beam Black. On one hand, Jim Beam did a great thing by bringing a new expression to the market at a reasonable cost but at the same time, it’s charging roughly the same for a whiskey, when compared to Jim Beam Black, that is a few years younger. So is it worth the price? If you’ve never had Jim Beam Black then yes, it’s worth the price to give it a try. If you’re a fan of Jim Beam Black, well…I leave the answer up to you.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: At the suggested price you can’t really go wrong adding a bottle to your home bar as it won’t break the bank. It will make a nice addition to the bottle of Jim Beam White you’ve already got and it’s versatile enough to be used in a mixed drink if that’s your preference. The exception being if you’re a big fan of Jim Beam Black. I would not suggest replacing that with this new release anytime soon.
Is Jim Beam Double Oak different enough from Jim Beam Black to warrant a separate bottling?
In a word, yes. But in real life bourbon is never that simple. While I personally prefer the longer-aged profile of Jim Beam Black with it’s more intense flavors and muted Jim Beam corn signature, the Jim Beam Double Oak brings a set of aromas and flavors that are unique enough to stand on its own and garner your attention. Double Oak’s aromas and flavors are brighter, more varied and as a result, more likely to appeal to those who favor lighter and more herbal bourbons. It’s more than able to stand on its own.
I would easily order a glass of Double Oak over White Label but don’t you dare try to replace my Jim Beam Black with either.
Disclaimer: Jim Beam provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review.
We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.