Bourbon Breakdown: Jim Beam Bourbon

September 4, 2021

When you first start your bourbon journey, chances are a bottle of Jim Beam will be one of the first you taste. It makes sense. Jim Beam Original is the best selling bourbon globally (and second best American whiskey sold around the world just behind Jack Daniel’s). But perhaps you weren’t aware of the other Jim Beam bourbon bottles in its main portfolio. While they don’t get discussed as much as the Original, they are worthy of a closer look.

Below is a breakdown of the Jim Beam Bourbon bottlings in its core portfolio (we’ll get to their Small Batch Collection and other assorted bourbons made at the distillery in due course). We’ve included a brief tasting note and our Distiller’s Community Ratings so you can be ready when you’re perusing the shelves at your favorite bar or liquor store.

Jim Beam Original

This is the brand’s entry level bourbon, sometimes referred to as Jim Beam White Label.

What to Know:

Jim Beam Original Bourbon is made using the same yeast strain that dates back to the end of Prohibition in 1933. Aged for four years in new, charred oak barrels, it’s bottled at 80 proof.

What Our Experts Say It Tastes Like:

Vanilla, maple syrup and corn

Avg US Price: $17
ABV: 40%
Community Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2,677 Ratings)

Jim Beam Bourbon: Jim Beam OriginalJim Beam Original /Photo Credit: Jim Beam

Jim Beam Black

This bottling is dubbed “Extra Aged” as it’s aged “years longer” than the Original.

What to Know:

This was first introduced by then Master Distiller Booker Noe in 1978. And though this has since lost its 8 year age statement, this bottling offers a solid value for a bourbon you can mix at 86 proof.

What Our Experts Say It Tastes Like:

Sweet and smoky with caramel, light vanilla and a touch of fruit.

Avg US Price: $22
ABV: 43%
Community Rating: 3.29 out of 5 stars (894 Ratings)

Jim Beam Bourbon: Jim Beam BlackJim Beam Black /Photo Credit: Jim Beam

Jim Beam Devil’s Cut

The name is a play on the term “angel’s share” in whiskey maturation — meaning the lost whiskey that evaporates after some time in a barrel.

What to Know:

Current Master Distiller Fred Noe came up with the idea to extract the bourbon trapped in the wood staves after a barrel has been dumped. That “devil’s cut” is then aged a bit more in new barrels and then blended with 6-year-old bourbon.

What Our Experts Say It Tastes Like:

Toasted wood, cinnamon red hots and caramel.

Avg US Price: $21
ABV: 45%
Community Rating: 2.86 out of 5 stars (915 Ratings)

Jim Beam Bourbon: Jim Beam Devil’s CutJim Beam Devil’s Cut /Photo Credit: Jim Beam

Jim Beam Single Barrel

Hand-selected bourbon barrels are chosen for this bottling. As is the nature of single barrels, the flavor profile will vary slightly from barrel to barrel.

What to Know:

Each bottling will display the barrel number on the label. It’s bottled at 95 proof to commemorate the brand’s founding in 1795

What Our Experts Say It Tastes Like:

Big char and oak, sweet caramel corn and a hint of orange peel

Avg US Price: $39
ABV: 47.5%
Community Rating: 3.47 out of 5 (436 Ratings)

Jim Beam Bourbon: Jim Beam Single BarrelJim Beam Single Barrel /Photo Credit: Jim Beam

Jim Beam Double Oak

Although this was originally released for the travel retail market, it is now widely available.

What to Know:

This bourbon begins life as 4-year-old Jim Beam Original. Then it’s re-barreled into a fresh new charred oak barrel to age further.

What Our Experts Say It Tastes Like:

Heavy smoke, sweet caramel and butterscotch.

Avg US Price: $22
ABV: 43%
Community Rating: 3.23 out of 5 stars (716 Ratings)

Jim Beam Bourbon: Jim Beam Double OakJim Beam Double Oak /Photo Credit: Jim Beam


Ready to do your own Jim Beam Bourbon comparisons?

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