- DISTILLER: Jim Beam Distillery
- MASH BILL: 77% Corn | 13% Rye | 10% Malted Barley (unconfirmed)
- AGE: 17 Years
- YEAR: 2023
- PROOF: 110
- MSRP: $170
SHARE WITH: Beam fans who gravitate to the older Knob Creek releases and fans of well-aged bourbons in general.
WORTH THE PRICE: At a retail price of just $10 per year in the barrel, it's hard to argue with the cost of admission. Retailers still seem to be figuring out how much of a premium to add, so until the reviewers (guilty as charged) light a fire under this lineup like they did the initial Jacob's Well release, this should remain a reasonable value for a bourbon over 15-years-old.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bar. While it's a solid value for a very good bourbon, it's probably best to test-drive this one at your nearest, well-stocked watering hole before pulling the trigger.
OVERALL: While attending the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in September, I stopped by Jim Beam for a long overdue visit to tour their new-ish Fred B. Noe Distillery, helmed by Freddie Noe, Fred's son and an 8th-generation Beam distiller. The bespoke production space is responsible for smaller, innovative releases like Freddie's Little Book and, most recently, Hardin's Creek.
I had the opportunity to taste the entire Hardin's Creek lineup, including Clermont (released in June) and Frankfort (released in August). The theme behind this bourbon trifecta is what Beam calls "Kentucky Terroir." But this is terroir in a very limited, geographical sense. Each Hardin's Creek bourbon is made from the same mash bill, aged 17 years, and bottled at the same proof. The only difference is the aging location (hence the name of each release).
Beam's Boston campus, known as The Booker Noe Campus, is unique from Clermont and Frankfort in that its rack houses are more spread out. Beam suggests that this results in "fast, richer" aging, and I have to say that of the three expressions, Boston tastes and smells the oldest. The aroma is dense and wood-driven, with notes of rick house, baking chocolate, and damp tobacco. It is indeed rich on the palate, which is oily and round with dark, dry baking spice, overcooked caramel, and loads of old, funky oak notes. The tannins are a bit much initially, but they even out across the sip as notes of dark cherry and licorice add a welcome, sweeter contrast. The finish is burly with black pepper and dusty pie spice laced with a lingering, cinnamon sugar sweetness. It's certainly worth a pour or three if you can find it.
Color: Rich amber with darker tones
Nose: Toasted marshmallow, dark chocolate, and slight coconut
Palate: Soft caramel and vanilla with oak tones, faded hazelnut
Finish: Sweet baking spices
Disclaimer: Bourbon & Banter received a sample of this product from the brand for review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.