At half the price and age of the Knob Creek Maple you are wasting half the money
Notes: Jim Beam Maple Whiskey is a new release by Jim Beam of a flavored Jim Beam product. They have been up to a lot lately with their Red Stag series ( kind of a flavored offshoot from the Jim Beam line) but that is somehow a step removed from the primary Jim Beam line up (with a emphasis on the Red Stag name and different labeling) where this seems to be a closer tie in to the brand.
The Jim Beam line was mainly a shall we say value brand, in the past but has also embarked on some more upscale direct tie ins with the release of their Signature Craft Series the Spanish Brandy and 12 Year Old Bourbon, a boost to the brand image in and of themselves, and heir single barrel bourbon also. Again they have released other products that would definitely be considered upscale from the Jim Beam line itself but they always called it something else, so it is interesting to see the recent permutations. We have reviewed a number of their other products in the past but right now we want to concentrate on this entirely new product of theirs and what they intend to do with it.
Appearance: Sparkling clear light gold/tan color that shows how young the whiskey is to a trained eye.On swirling it leaves a thin but tenacious coat on the glass with droplets forming after a bit
First Impression: Very heavy maple and caramel scents with the usual bourbon scents hard to pick out in the background .
Taste: Very sweet entry, Very maple caramel and sugar forward with some char,vanilla and other standard whiskey notes somewhat buried under a wave of maple syrup type flavors.
Drinks: .It is too sweet and lacks a lot of bourbon attributes to be seriously considered by people who are much above the legal minimum age to drink.
Bottle: Disturbingly close to the standard rectangular Jim Beam Black Label bottle with the usual black wrap around ( three sided) paper label and Jim Beam graphics with the addition the word “Maple” in the center of the label to distinguish it from the 8 year old 86 proof premium end of their whiskey line. The black screw cap closure is also very similar to the Black Label and Devils Cut versions, furthering some possible confusion and vexations for bartenders on a crowded bar display.
Other: It should be noted that this whiskey is lower proof than standard. They seem to be taking a page from flavored vodkas who more and more seem to use 70 proof as a standard. This is done for a number of reasons, first water is cheap, lower tax per bottle, and as it contains more water and less alcohol it makes for a lighter flavor that seems to appeal to the younger drinkers.
Final Thoughts: Very similar conclusion as with the Knob Creek Smoked Maple Whiskey , in essence, don’t bother if you are a real whiskey drinker, it’s too sweet and kiddie candy like. Much more a whiskey maple liqueur than a whiskey in my humble opinion. Since it costs about one half what the similarly flavored Knob Creek Smoked Maple does it has a higher value rating. On the other hand both the quality of the bourbon involved and the less interesting and less complex flavoring cause us to score it lower on the overall quality scale.
The website has a lot of information on their other offerings and an interesting device to compare their bourbons ( in the Jim Beam line only- no mention of their other lines)