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Cigar Spirits: Beam Signature Craft Soft Red Wheat Harvest Collection 11 Year Bourbon

19 Feb 2015

The Red Wheat Harvest Collection (or maybe it’s Signature Craft Harvest Collection Red Wheat… it’s not entirely clear) is part of the rapidly expanding Jim Beam Signature Craft line. The name is a mouthful, but it’s actually quite descriptive of the many ways this limited offering differs from your standard-issue Jim Beam.

beam-red-wheat-harvestWhat’s most notable about Red Wheat is the mashbill which, unlike every other Beam bourbon to date, uses wheat instead of rye, along with corn and malt barley. And the 11-year age statement makes it considerably older than every other current Beam offering except its recent 12 Year Signature Craft.

The bronze-colored spirit features a nose full of vanilla, damp oak, and a hint of dried fruit. On the palate there’s a lush creaminess, cookie batter, vanilla, and a hint of red apple. The finish is long with some clove and wood spice.

It’s a got hints of that distinctive Beam yeasty funk, but there’s a lot more going on than just that. There is a soft, delicate edge that adds to the complexity and enjoyability.

It also makes the Red Wheat a versatile bourbon for cigar pairing. All but the strongest cigars would make for an excellent pairing, from a mild Connecticut-wrapped cigar to a medium-full Nicaraguan blend.

It deserves to be tasted neat, as too much water or ice could tame the 90-proof spirit. Really there’s not much to complain about, except maybe the price.

Certainly, $45 for a 375 ml. bottle is very steep. But then when you consider that the only other wheated bourbons with similar age statements (Van Winkle Lot B and Weller 12 Year) are becoming exceedingly difficult to find at retail, the cost isn’t so ridiculous. My recommendation: See if you can try some at a bar before going in on an entire bottle.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

One Response to “Cigar Spirits: Beam Signature Craft Soft Red Wheat Harvest Collection 11 Year Bourbon”

  1. Trey Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Look forward to more experimental stuff from Beam. Unlike start up craft guys who have to rush product out to get cash flow Beam can wait until the whiskey is actually ready.