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Stogie Spirits: Jim Beam Distillers Series Bourbon

6 Jan 2009

In 1964 Bourbon was declared America’s Native Spirit, and the most popular bourbon around is Jim Beam. Indeed, Beam’s ubiquitous white label and square bottle is behind every bar in America. But today I examine a rarer Beam: the “Distillers Series,” a limited release in celebration of over two centuries of Beam distilling and the 75th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition.

Jim Beam Distillers SeriesThe concept behind Distillers Series is to celebrate seven generations of master distillers: from Jacob Beam, founder of the Jim Beam name who first made Old Jake Beam Sour Mash in 1795, to Frederick Booker Noe III, who oversees production today. The clear special release bottle features a photo and a brief blurb about each of the seven generations of Beam distillers.

You’ll have to forgive me, though, if I’m more concerned with what is in the bottle than what is on it. Inside is a new Beam recipe that’s aged seven years and distilled to 90 proof, making it slightly stronger than Beam’s regular seven-year bourbon. That bourbon is a deep golden amber color. On the nose the Distillers Series has plenty of sweet honey, some oak, and a bit of pepper.

Upon sipping this copper-colored Kentucky spirit I find that same honey, classic corn flavor, oak, char, and muted pepper. It is remarkably smooth and easy to drink either straight up—where it’s fiery finish comes through—or on the rocks for a long, warm, smooth finish.

Like any bourbon good enough to be enjoyed on straight up, the Distillers Series pairs well with a variety of cigars. The Coronado by La Flor paired particularly well, as did a CAO Brazilia. I would shy away from particularly mild cigars that would be overpowered.

Overall, the Jim Beam Distillers Series is an impressive bourbon considering its $21 price tag. While it isn’t as complex as many of the small batch premium bourbons available today such as Knob Creek—a personal favorite of mine and another Beam company bourbon—the Distillers Series is a smooth, pleasant sipping bourbon that, due to its price, won’t bring you to tears if your friend wastes some by mixing it with cola.

So if you appreciate the history of the worlds best-known bourbon, or just want a good Kentucky whiskey to pair with cigars at a reasonable price, I suggest picking up some Jim Beam Distillers Series before if disappears from shelves at the end of the month.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

3 Responses to “Stogie Spirits: Jim Beam Distillers Series Bourbon”

  1. raul Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 3:22 am #

    Never heard of this, but now I might have to go get some. I wonder how widely it is available?

  2. dmjones Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 4:49 am #

    At $21 I'll have to give this one a try. I've had Booker Bourbon once and it's very good, but nowhere near good enough to justify a $45 to 50 price tag, especially when you can get Russell's Reserve (from Wild Turkey) for $19 to 23–a price that makes it easily my favorite bourbon. If this new offering at a similar price point from Beam is any good I'll purchase it on a regular basis.

  3. Jacob Solbrig Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm #

    Saw this on the shelf at my local bourbon retailer. Being a bourbon enthusiast, i completely agree what’s in the bottle is way more important than what’s on the outside…that said, the bourbon is surprisingly smooth. Oak and Cherry hit me first, but pepper, vanilla, and chocolate? is in there for sure. I’d say it might be single malt, but i know that Beam mixes for consistency. Not alot of the burn of a comparably priced bourbon. A good buy at $20-22. Way better than regular Jim or JD. Almost dead even with Gentlemen Jack, perhaps a bit better. Not as smooth as JD single barrel or yeah Maker’s Mark in the 30-40 Range, but a damn good buy. Great finish!

    A- 93 of possible 100


    N.O. Louisiana