Nicely done 12 year old whiskey. Nicely balanced age and wood profile.
Notes: Jim Beam has a wide number of products some of which we have reviewed. Their are best known for their signature Jim Beam Bourbons and some of the ready to drink (RTD’s) such as Jim Beam in a can ( actually Jim Beam whiskey and cola to be more exact). They also over the years have purchased other venerable names such as Old Grand Dad, Old Crow, Fighting Cock and several others along with being importers for other spirits such as Courvoisier cognac, El Tesoro tequila, and a host of smaller brands. They have also been notable in the creation of the “Small Batch” bourbon as a product with early examples such as Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, Bookers, etc., ( including Jacobs Well a great bourbon that is lamentably no longer made)
What is small batch? No one really knows, it is not legally defined but does seem to mean a somewhat less than full bore industrial rollout of a notionally higher quality product or premium product.
That being said the “Signature Craft” series seems to be an even more exclusive subset of bourbon for them. The two expressions so far are the Premium Bourbon finished with Spanish Brandy and the spirit we are reviewing now, the Small Batch Bourbon Aged For 12 Years
Appearance: Clear,slightly oily look to it nice gold amber tending towards a bit of red shows the age of the whiskey nicely.On swirling it show a distinctive if not overly thick edge line with some legs developing and teardrops slowly forming
First Impression: Vanilla, oak, leather.Traces of dark dried fruits.
Taste: Vanilla, corn, nice rye sweet sour notes and a lot of oak char. Finish s medium, leaving a tingle to your lips as the most namable characteristic.
Drinks: Jim Beam says in their literature that the whiskey “is best enjoyed neat or on – the – rocks. While they may feel this is true we found it made for a very sturdy Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and also a Horses Neck. But at around $40 a bottle you can certainly find a cheaper alternative for such drinks.
Bottle: Flask shaped clear glass bottle shows the bourbon to good effectSimple graphics on a clear plastic applied label are easy to recognize at a distance. Small gold on black label gives the particulars and distinguishes it from the other signature craft bottling which is gold on red.Back label is also clear applied plastic. Both are fairly easy to remove if you wish to reuse the bottle for something else. Black neck collar with screw cap and a “None Genuine Without My Signature” paper seal that harks back to an earlier era. Overall not a bad if slightly low end package for a premium product. While the screw cap is convenient ( and actually a better seal) the bottle itself is a touch on the skimpy side ( read not very decanter like). But if you can get past all that it is good whiskey inside.
Cigars: A Ghurka or similar robust smoke works well with this bourbon
Other: As stated above, it is part of a new branch as it were of the Jim Beam family. It will be interesting to see what other products emerge in the is collection.
Final Thoughts: A decently made whiskey, one or the oldest Jim Beam has produced to date. While not as spectacular as some, it is a great value for the price. Almost scored a 9 out of 10 in overall but could be a touch more complex. Think of it as Knob Creeks older more mature brother or the next step up from it. Same for the value rating. If there are not Elijah Craig 12 year old and a few others below $40 it would have scored higher in the value section. Overall a good choice for your collection, and an interesting example of a superior Jim Beam product.