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A ‘small-batch’, cask-strength, un-chillfiltered bourbon from Jim Beam. This is as close to tasting a bourbon from the cask as I’m likely to get, which is quite exciting, so here goes. Bottles been open three weeks with about a fifth gone.
Nose – Solventy notes but it’s not harsh or nippy. Caramel, tinned tobacco, touch leather, dark sour cherries. Oak, on the fresher side, with some walnuts. Big. Water – more oak and some floral notes (I’m thinking ‘purple’ flowers – OK, I’m no Alan Titchmarsh, more Alan Partridge ;)
Taste – intense, big hit of Parma Violet sweets, perfumed, more caramel. Surprisingly soft for the abv with a delightfully chewy mouthfeel. Water – less intense but more of the same really.
Finish – Not that long at all really. Hard dark toffee (or bonfire toffee for those UK bound), sour cherry and a little drying oak to finish off. Water – more oak driven and peppery.
I think this is better neat but it has to be taken slowly – this is a beast at almost 63% let’s not forget. Water adds a little but nothing that really improves the experience.
I do like this and it’s one I’ve wanted to try for a while but it seems a little, how can I put this, one dimensional, maybe? All the flavours are there, and I really am appreciating tasting bourbon for the first time in its completely natural state, but it’s as if all the notes sing without ever really coming together i.e. it lacks a certain complexity. That’s fine and I’m digging this for what it is but it just falls short of the higher marks for me. Now, where can I find a Baker’s?