Saturday, December 9, 2017

Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey

- $23
- 90 Proof
- Kentucky

It's certainly easy to get caught up in all the limited releases, barrel picks and fancy whiskeys sitting on the shelves these days, without consideration for the standards. I feel I've long ignored some of the basic ryes out there and I intend to remedy that situation.

So, I started off with Jim Beam Rye. Right or wrong, I've always used white label as my kind of baseline, the bourbon against which I compare everything else, serving as my standard "C" grade bourbon. So it only seems right that at some point I give the rye a try.

Admittedly, I went into this expecting something average, and it proved to be much more than average. The nose gave off a light cinnamon spice and minimal alcohol. It wasn't strong, though, and I had to hunt for the flavors.

Luckily that wasn't the case with the palate. The flavor of this rye is actually quite good. I got the cinnamon from the nose that carried from the beginning to the end, providing a decently long and spicy finish. It was also sweetened by some vanilla as well as a surprising light butterscotch note. These flavors and the sweetness complemented the lingering spice very well.

Despite it being watery in texture, it was still full of flavor and the flavor stuck around for quite a while, with a decent coating of the mouth, especially given the watery texture and low proof.

Interestingly, after leaving the bottle open for a couple weeks, it developed a very distinct pine flavor. It wasn't strong, but it was certainly noticeable. The pine flavor played well with the cinnamon, but seemed to be at odds a bit with the butterscotch.

This also came across as a younger rye. It was a bit jagged and rough around the edges, with sharp notes and, despite the low proof, some burn. However, for the price, it's a good rye and one I wouldn't hesitate to buy again. It certainly exceeded my expectations and was a nice surprise.

Grade: B-

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