It is unclear whether Jim Beam believes we are in the midst of a bourbon shortage. They claim they are not, however actions have always spoken louder than words. What is clear, unfortunately, is Beam’s premium whiskeys aren’t as flavorful as they once were. Jim Beam (along with many other distilleries) has removed age guarantees on a variety of mid to premium brands. Basil Hayden’s, for example, was once labeled as "Aged 8 Years", and then the age statement was replaced by "Artfully Aged". In addition to these ambiguous buzzwords being slapped onto Beam’s bottles today, there also seems to be a noticeable decay in the taste of non age statement whiskey. The recent release of Knob Creek rye is a perfect example of a no age statement, (rest assured, "patiently aged”) whiskey that simply isn’t as good as it used to be.
Nose: Light sweetness with vanilla, caramel, and sweet corn. The aroma is fairly herbal
with a shallow reminisce of rye spice.
Taste: A chocolaty sweetness
with herbal undertones. Characteristic Jim Beam yeast flavors stamp an impression
onto the palate. Rye notes peak on the back end with a sharp, pepper spice.
Finish: Short with a dry, light spice.
Conclusion: This recent batch of Knob Creek rye falls short of
expectations. A few years ago it was a delicious whiskey with a complex, bold, and
spicy profile. These days it’s just decent, tasting light and unapologetic. This
decline in age and quality will leave a blemish on Jim Beam as long as their prices continue to remain
the same. I didn’t mean to go on a long tangent about quality control (maybe subconsciously),
but this evolutionary decay really grinds my gears.
My Rating: C (Decent)