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.
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.