Whisky Connosr
Menu
Shop Join

Jim Beam White Label

Average score from 8 reviews and 45 ratings 66

Jim Beam White Label

Product details

  • Brand: Jim Beam
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 40.0%

Shop for this

What next?

  • Add to cabinet
  • Add to wish list
@Victor
Jim Beam White Label

For my 459th Connosr review, and nearly exactly 1 year from the date of my last review, I shall review, for the very first time, Jim Beam White Label. Why Beam White Label 7 1/2 years and 458 reviews later, you ask? Well, looks like I have never bothered to review Jim Beam White Label before, and a whole helluva lot of this stuff is made and drunk, worldwide. Beam White is the No. 2 best-selling whisk(e)y in the US, behind Jack Daniel's Old No. 7. As straight bourbon whiskey with no age statement Jim Beam White Label is assumed to be 4 years old. The reviewed bottle is newly opened. It was a gift from a friend

Nose: somewhat subdued at first, but grows to moderate in intensity; tannic wood, caramel, and muffled vanilla; a little wood spice and slightly sweet. This is certainly pleasant enough, but it is no great shakes and possesses no elements of sublime beauty. The score would be higher if this batch were not overly tannic. Water added improved the nose greatly, harmonising the flavours and smoothing out the rough tannic edge. Score: 18/25 neat; 21/25 with water

Taste: very caramel-y; sweeter in the mouth than on the nose; the tannins and char add some bitterness in the mouth which seems out of place. Otherwise the nose translates rather well to the delivery. Water added mostly just dilutes the flavour in the mouth with only slight improvement. Score: 19/25 neat; 20/25 with water

Finish: medium length, dying on tannic wood which is not so delicious. Water added greatly tamed the nasty finish. Score: 16/25 neat; 20/25 with water

Balance: good balance in the nose, only fair thereafter. Score: 17/25 neat; 20/25 with water added

Total Sequential Score: 70 points neat; 81 points with water added

Strength: moderate strength throughout. Score: 22.5/25

Quality: adequate to good grain flavours; so-so quality of flavours from the wood. Much better with water added. Score: 18/25

Variety: adequate variety only. Score: 17/25

Harmony: too much tannin mars the prospect of good harmony. Once again, much better with water added. Score: 16/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 73.5 points (all scores here neat)

Comment: well, I've drunk samples of Jim Beam White Label over the years from various bottles, most not owned by me. Jim Beam White Label is what is left over after the high-quality barrels for the Beam premium and super-premium products have been sequestered for more exclusive releases. Beam White probably represents 60+% of the total output of Beam standard moderate rye mashbill bourbon. A review needs to primarily address the whiskey sample at hand. Like all big mass-release brands Jim Beam White Label has a significant range of variation in the tastes and qualities of each batch. This currently reviewed bottle of Beam White Label is probably from one of the lesser batches from which I have sampled. At its best a batch of Jim Beam White Label may be an 85 point whiskey; at its worst, it could rate below 70 points. 40% ABV whiskey from the large American distillers should be considered designed primarily for mixing and cocktails. American distillers have de facto agreed to 43-47% as their estimate for the ideal mass-market distribution ABV for "sipping whiskeys". If they bottle it at 40% ABV they probably do not think that it is for sipping

I was shocked at how much adding water improved this 40% ABV whiskey. I wasn't going to try it with water because it is already only 40% ABV, but that would have been a big mistake. I tried it with water added only out of a sense of completeness. I am very glad that I did. Maybe that is a nod by the distiller that this whiskey will work well with rocks, water, or mixers. If you try to sip your Jim Beam White Label, try it with water if you are not liking it neat

My composite score is for the whiskey at its best, with a couple of drops of water added

@Victor Just trying to get all the details to compliment an excellent review... stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

@MadSingleMalt, I do not know whether there are any Scottish malt distilleries which sell only single malt. I too would like to know. I'll bet that every single one of them has barrels which they don't want to use and dispose of privately to some blenders. Even the US malt whiskey distiller Stranahan's in Denver now combines some of its 'single' malt with MGPI bourbon to make the blended whiskey known as Tin Cup. Tin Cup has its fans. I am not one of them.

J

A good value bourbon with a good dose of corn & smoke. The young age shows itself with some alcohol harshness but still a whiskey with some character. Good neat, better with ice, and a great mixer.

@jerryclyde

Way back in the 60s, White Label (with ginger ale or cranberry juice) was my drink of choice. Since then, I really hadn't drank much of JB and hadn't given in much thought. Then a friend from Quebec brought down a couple bottles to share. One of them was a liter bottle of JB (some gift, I thought) the other a 10 yo Whistle Pig (nice!!). We enjoyed the Whistle Pig, but the next afternoon, much to my surprise, I noticed my friend sipping on White Label NEAT. He pronounced it "quite good." I tried it neat and was pleasantly surprised. This was not the same stuff I remembered. I

Color: Old Gold

Nose: Very light and floral. Some vanilla.

Palate: Surprising change from the nose as the palate is quite full bodied. A nice mouth feel with up front brown sugar highlights. Vanilla and licorice make an appearance late with tingling spices.

Finish: Short but solid.

This is never going to be a first tier bourbon, but this bottling was far beyond some of the 50 ratings it has received previously. Try it with an open mind.

Like most large batch brands, Jim Beam White Label can vary quite a lot from batch to batch and from year to year. 40% abv is usually too dilute for my taste to make a good sipping bourbon. These 40% abv bourbons are generally intended for cocktails, anyway. The best barrels Beam has in inventory will go to the small batch bourbons and other special releases, then to the Jim Beam Black Label, and now to the new White Label Single Barrel releases. Standard Jim Beam White Label is what is left over after all the best barrels have been combed over and re-combed over for aging for the premium products. It is no wonder that the Jim Beam White Label is the lesser quality product which Beam has to offer. Any informed person should know in advance that deciding to buy Jim Beam White Label is deciding to buy the lowest quality of bourbon which Beam Suntory has to offer. It should be no surprise that Beam White is usually not a great sipper. I agree with you @jerryclyde that Jim Beam White Label is usually much more than a 50-something pt whiskey. I don't think I've ever done a review of Jim Beam White Label. I expect that my score would be within a few points of your own, though I haven't had a taste of it in years.

Victor, I like your idea of the "beginner's mind" as it applies to the enjoyment of whisky. That is certainly the approach I take, trying to be open minded and casting prejudices to the wind: as if the whisky I'm about to taste is my first whisky experience. I'm pretty much a solitary taster (my wife loves to nose whisky, but prefers her pinot noir) and have not been exposed to a lot of social whisky tastings. I attended Whiskey Fest in NYC a couple of years ago (the very weekend of Super Storm Sandy) and I must say I had a very mixed reaction. The selection of whiskies and the buffet were all first rate, but some of the attendees really pissed me off. It was educational to watch people choose which expression of a given whisky they were to sample. All too often, the choice was predicated by price and/or reputation - so at the Ardbeg table (for example), the spectacular 10 yo was essentially neglected in favor of the more expensive expressions. If most of the tasters were experienced with Ardbeg's expressions, I could see them going right to the Uigeadail, but by the nature of some of the questions asked the distillery represenatives, they were obviously not experienced whisky drinkers, and were looking for the "good stuff". In other words, they were not exhibiting "the beginner's mind" and missing an opportunity to learn something about Ardbeg and its whiskies - not to mention, missing out on that 10 yo. Have a good holiday!

@77ships

Mainstream macro brand. One of the cheapest not only whiskey’s but hard liquors available at my supermarket.

Cracked open a bottle at home. Taste is that of cheap hooch, ABV is the legally min. one (my bottle was 40 % ABV) but this feels like undiluted Russian moonshine. Overly boozy mixed with brown sugar with simple oak & vanilla, almost feels like the added flavourers to it but it is not enough to mask the harsh cheap hooch impression. Oddly at the same this feels watery as well. I tried adding stuff to it in order to make it more drinkable but it didn’t really work. There are more pleasurable ways of getting cheaply drunk.

B

Jim Beam is an absolutely iconic whiskey, and the distillery puts out some extremely good whiskey (Booker's Small Batch being a prime example). But how about their standard product? I've heard several times that it's a decent mixing whiskey, but to be honest I've never actually tried it myself (since I tend to prefer my whiskey by itself). Recently I was given a bottle, and was interested to see how such a famous whiskey would turn out.

Appearance: pale gold. I generally try not to read too much into colour though, so we'll see how it smells and tastes.

Nose: already this isn't boding well. The nose is weak and the flavours indistinct. Some vanilla, faint glimpses of honey, hints of wet oak, perhaps a touch of cooked apple. Not much else. Neither water nor time can bring out anything more.

Palate: the mouthfeel is incredibly thin and watery, and the flavors are even less intense than the nose. It's also what I would call 'blurry': nothing is distinct or stands out on its own. There are some woody notes, vanilla again, and very strong sweetness of honey and perhaps light caramel.

Finish: Almost absent. A faint, short oak taste and then gone.

Overall impressions: Though I've often heard this described as a 'mixing whiskey' I would have to say that I wouldn't use it in a cocktail myself- it's far too bland and unimpressive. In fact, that's a perfect way to succinctly describe it. It's not actually BAD - there's nothing actively unpleasant about it, certainly. But it's extremely uninteresting. Definitely one to avoid when you're at the liquor store.

Ughhh shivers. A couple of months ago (last year) I went to the local store to get some bourbon and single malts. As I got through the line and up to the cashier he looked up at me and said "this is some good stuff" (pointing at the Woodford Reserve in my hand). Moments later, he followed up by saying; "Great bourbon, a little pricey but very nice. I was out out of cash recently so I couldn't grab any, so, Instead I grabbed some Jim Beam. It was like drinking piss water bro" And those were his last words. I will never lay my hands on this stuff. Either this or the black label from them. Its harsh, rough and just terrible. If I'd have to give it a grade, I'd divide that 58 by 2. It's amazing these are the same guys associated with Knob Creek and Maker's mark. The difference is astonishing.

I enjoy your insightful and articulate reviews. I haven't had Beam in more than 30 years (last time was when I was drowning my sorrows on the night John Lennon was killed), and I wasn't exactly into nosing and tasting at the time. Thanks for the forewarning on this one. For a basic bourbon, I'll spend the extra 10 bucks on some Buffalo Trace.

@SquidgyAsh

I need sample bottles, badly, for a whisky swap with my friend Systemdown. Now I'd scored three of them when I purchased the Auchentoshan sample set, but I needed more.

But where was I to get them? Then I had a what I hope is / will be a great idea. Dan Murphy's has sample bottles of Jim Beam White Label, Jack Daniels, Chivas Regal 12 yr old, Johnnie Walker Black and Red Label. I would pick up a sample of each of these bottles and review it.

Now most of the reviews I've seen so far have been brief, basic, pretty much "Good as a mixer"

Fair enough. But I'm a whisky geek. I wanna tear a whisky apart and KNOW it.

And even better for me hahaha is I've never had Jim Beam, any bottle, or Johnnie Walker Red and Black Labels.

Now the first bottle, Jim Beam White Label, I should add by all technical definitions is no longer a bourbon.

I bet that made you blink.

Didn't it?

See bourbon is supposed to be bottled at no less then 40%ABV. Over here in Australia the Jim Beam White Label is bottled at 37% ABV, as are several other bourbons on the market.

Now to me, a purist, this bugs me because as I said, it's no longer a bourbon, but continuing on.

So I purchase these sample bottles on the way home from work and decide to crack open the whisky I haven't tried and have heard things about for years.

Jim Beam White Label.

I crack open the sample, pour it into my glencairn and notice immediately the bourbon smells that are oh so familiar to me, but with a hint of roughness.

Smells of oak, touches of vanilla, cherries, some licorice are present throughout the nose. But it feels, subdued.

I nose the glencairn for roughly 40 or so minutes, trying to tease more out of the whisky. There might be a touch of honey, but not much else.

I then take a sip, and am surprised, blinking my eyes. It's whisky water.

That's right. Whisky water.

There is practically no mouth feel. I might as well be drinking funny flavored water.

The flavors that stand out are oak, touches of vanilla, some honey and traces of cherries. But for all intents in purposes this is water.

The finish is pretty much nonexistent and is just gone with a faint oak aftertaste.

People say it's a good mixer whisky, I disagree. When I use a whisky in a cocktail I want at least some of the whiskies flavors to come through. With this, the flavors are so muted that I doubt that would occur.

This isn't bad whisky per say, it's just horribly watered down and rough. It runs roughly $35 AUS, which for most people makes them say sure why not, however with much better whiskies available for only five to ten dollars more, why not splurge and get the better whisky.

Look elsewhere if you're interested in a bourbon.

@Victor Agreed. I was curious as to finally experience Jim Beam, but mainly wanted the sample bottle for the whisky tasting for System. I REALLY am missing the US at times like this, because those 5 bottles are the only ones I've seen in a normal liquor store over here compared to the US.

@Fons Agreed. Sadly they're not the only bourbon over here bottled at 37% which is just ridiculous.

@Pudge72 I think it's more a Jim Beam thing instead of an Aussie thing. There is another bourbon, Cougar Bourbon, which sits at 37% ABV. All the other bourbons I've seen sit at 40% or higher.

@Systemdown Anything for friends :D I figured it was a good cause!

@Everyone I think the lower ABV is due to an alcohol tax, although I could be wrong. I've heard the high cost is to prevent underage, but what happened is that lots of cheap wines, beers, and Jim Beam flooded the market. So a normal good scotch which might be say 50 bucks in the US gets knocked up to 150 bucks. Where as the cheaper stuff floods into the country at lower prices.

I've heard that they're debating making a new alcohol tax (please repeal the old one) where the tax won't be so much based on the value of the alcohol, but on just the volume instead, this tax I've heard is the latest effort to bring down underage and aboriginal drinking from what I've heard.

I'm sorry if my comment there didn't make much sense, but I've just woken up hahaha.

Tonight another review!

Can you see why I was put off "bourbon" in my youth, when this was what all the cool kids were drinking? Awful. Anyway.. thanks for taking one for the team @SquidgyAsh! At least you'll be able to replace the contents of the sample bottle with something considerably nicer!

@Victor @Fons Agreed that 37% ABV defies belief. Shame indeed.

@Pudge72 It's not a legal requirement at all. I suggest there's a "loophole" here that allows Jim Beam to sell the stuff at below 40% ABV and/or they pay less taxes on it if it's under 40% (speculating). Being Aussie I should probably look into it. I'm sure it just means Beam can simply make a larger profit on the stuff.. it might still be bottled in Kentucky if it's earmarked for Australia, they're probably allowed to label it however they like as long as it doesn't break Australian law (again, speculation - I would not think it's bottle here in Aus).

@tabendar

One of my favorite bourbons to mix with sprite or coke. A bit two sweet for me to venture into to trying it on the rocks but perhaps some day. Notes of vanilla oak. Very good bourbon if your a looking to make some mixers....

@jamhorner

Nose has a tangy vanilla to it. Has a sweet vanilla flavor with a woody finish. Crisp at the start and a sharp ending.

Sure there are better bourbons out there, but this is always a go-to bourbon for me, especially because its great with or without food.

I must admit though, I recently become a big fan of Jim's "black" label--especially for autumn.

Grew up on Jim Beam. This is my comfort choice, good for rainy days and quite nights when the wife and kids go to sleep.

Popular Jim Beam whiskies