Nose: smells like bourbon! Lots of oak char, some sweet fruit and spices. The rye takes its sweet time to emerge in the form of spearmint and lemon balm.
Taste: quite prickly off the hop, with some of that leathery Beam smokiness, then the promised dry spices.
Finish: long and oak-driven.
Balance: not much of a sipper, this. Tasty enough but lacks a certain refinement. Judging by the blurb on the bottle it's intended as a mixer anyway, and for the price I can't complain. Strikes me as a stronger version of their standard bourbon rather than an entirely new product. Will be interesting to compare with the new Jack Daniel's Rye, which, comparing from memory, is on an entirely different level.
Interesting. And nothing like my bottle, which had nothing other than oakwood resembling bourbon about it. It makes me think that your batch differs a good deal from mine. The bottle design has already changed since I first bought it. I reviewed this whisky 3 years ago, in March 2015, when it first came onto the market, and have seen nary another Connosr peep on the subject since, including no comments on my review other than ones I made myself.
No, this one doesn't make much of a sipper, but if you let it sit around for, say, 6-12 months, you should see some changes in it. In my case the changes were broadening of the originally very limited range of very spicy flavours. It improved, but it was still marginal as a sipper. I imagine it would be good in mixed drinks, though, as I, you, and Beam have pointed out.
Gentrification of whisk(e)y love has its dark side. Ten years ago, before all the best barrels were being saved for premium products, Beam Yellow Label Rye was pretty darn tasty, and, in these parts anyway, cost about $ 10 for 750 ml. No more good ultra-cheap stuff now...at least in the category of Beam Rye.