Sunday, November 26, 2023

Hardin's Creek Jacob's Well Kentucky Straight Bourbon

- $150
- 108 Proof
- 15 yrs., 4 mos.
- Kentucky

This was an interesting release by Jim Beam.  They announced this release of a 108 proof bourbon aged for over 15 years, priced at around $150.00.  Yet, at the same time they also announced the release of a 2 year bourbon priced around $80.00.  The at 2 year bourbon seemed not only an odd choice at a terrible price, but I think it may have taken some of the shine off of what would otherwise have been a pretty well-anticipated release of the 15 year.

But, I'm a sucker for well-aged Beam products. I'm happy to purchase anything 10 years or older from Beam, and when we get to 15+ years, I'm all over it. So, while the price was a bit steep, I nonetheless made it a point to grab a bottle, knowing full well I was more than likely going to really enjoy it.  And of course I completely ignored the 2 year release (as apparently most everyone else did considering I now see it on clearance shelves in stores).

The nose on this bourbon was one of the best that I could remember. It was cherry cola with chocolate, like an old timey fountain soda. It also had the sweet and rich toffee notes that make bourbon so great, and it all came together as this sweet, rich, dessert-like aroma that had me immediately salivating.

Interestingly, and right in line with that fountain soda note, the first note I got off the tip of my tongue was a sweet and spicy root beer note. That was a delicious surprise. Immediately behind that, though, were those rich toffee notes that I was expected, as well as a great nougat note that provided a softer, yet still delicious note to balance out those toffee and root beer notes. 

Adding to its dimensions, I also got a great cherry cola note. And I'm not talking like a cherry Coke that you grab off the shelf. I'm talking again like a fountain soda, with maraschino cherry, rich and sweet and full in cherry flavor. There was also a slight citrus orange note, though that was more in the background than anything, and that cherry cola note really took center stage.

On the finish, in addition to the cherry cola notes that lingered forever, a rich dark chocolate note came through, only adding to the incredible flavor of this bourbon from front to back. While it didn't come across as very spicy, it nonetheless was sweet and rich and delicious without ever going to far. I'm sure the age and time spent with the oak had something to do with that.

This was definitely the biggest surprise from last year for me. I paid a decent price. I knew it would be good. I had no idea I would love this as much as I did! I had some great whiskeys last year, and this might have been my favorite!

Grade: A+

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