Hardin's Creek Colonel James B. Beam
Bourbon — Kentucky, USA
Tasted July 20, 2022
How anyone gets away with charging $85 for a 2 year bourbon I do not know. Maybe a sign of the times?, inflation?, the world gone mad? Long story short I’m not sure I could knowing pay that. But I can, and did, unknowingly pay approximately that. This is one of two bottles that arrived on my doorstep in a large fancy box from Clermont, KY. The Beam family’s Barreled and Boxed program is outstanding in that it cuts the allocated bourbon line and instead places bottles, and a very large box, on your doorstep. The presentation is lovey and the convenience can’t be beat. But overpaying for a 2-year bourbon to get my hands on a 15-year bourbon that isn’t sourced from Barton - it seemed like a good enough idea. The premise behind this bottle - essentially what I’ve asked for again and again - is lovey. Lower proof off the still. The fermentation period being stretched to 5 days is interesting and could go either way. More ethanol, less in fermented sugar, more byproducts of fermentation that could taste spent or fantastic. Light golden in color and a bit of a viscous appearance. The nose screams Old Granddad 114 - gobs of vanilla, red hot cinnamon candies, corn cookies, apple pie and a dash of cola. There is a singe of alcohol as well. The surprising part is this doesn’t have the grainy cereal notes of some other craft bourbons being put out at 4y or less and I would guess 6y if I didn’t know better. There’s a bit of oak to balance the sweet notes but that’s it. A bit hot and thin but bursting with cinnamon, vanilla and more oak than the nose. There are some black tea notes, but if tobacco and corn grain mid-way to the finish which is short and spicy with a bit of caraway, pepper and sorghum. It’s really quite good. I’m surprised in the same way that Castle & Key’s bourbon (batch 2) and Willett’s 4 year rye pack an unexpected amount of flavor in such a short time. I would say the same thing about their price points as in this case - they have some marketing fancy that drives up the price to a point in a cringy way. Is this more complex than OGD 114 but with a very similar profile - yes. Does it command the additional ~$50 - absolutely not. It’s up my alley but wouldn’t be something I’d ever purchase stand alone unless the price hovered closer to $45-50 max. I could see going as high as a 4 in my book but with price considered can’t justify more than a 3.5. Frankly I could go as low as 3.25 and for the time being will stick with that as a score so long as OGD 114 is available.
85.0 USD per Bottle