This whisky is “patiently” aged, as opposed to the (for now) age statements of 9 years across the Knob Creek bourbons. This is the latest addition to the Jim Beam small batch collection, and much of the best of the Jim Beam rye whiskey goes into this. It bothers me that it’s not labeled as a “straight” rye…are they adding colouring?
For whatever reason, this bourbon is the one which I seem to hear about the least of the bourbons in the Jim Beam small batch collection. It’s odd, perhaps, because it is a solid bourbon, and the price is good. It comes in at 53.5%, is aged 7 years, and is fairly available. Each bottle has a batch number on it – this reviewed batch is B-90-001.
This whiskey was introduced in 1992 as part of the Jim Beam Small Batch Collection – it was modelled after the whiskey and recipe made by Basil Hayden, a distiller in the late 1700s. The whiskey used to carry an age statement of 8 years, but is now “artfully aged”, i.e. not as old. Likewise, it used to be a “straight” bourbon – but now no longer carries that description. This whiskey has the lowest alcohol content (40%) of any of the Jim Cream Small Batch Collection (which includes the Knob Creek line, Booker’s, and Baker’s), and is crafted to be a lighter bourbon. This bourbon is unique in that it has a higher rye content (the recipe uses about 30%), which is nearly double that of the other Jim Beam products.
Tonight, the Canadian whisky awards get announced, and in anticipation, why not post a review for another batch of Confederation Oak. I have now tasted all the batches A-F, lucky indeed. E, though I didn’t review it, showed some more fresh oak than the others but didn’t impress me in my far-from-ideal tasting of it during the Forty Creek Whisky Weekend. This sample is thanks to a fun sample swap with a reader of the blog!
This bottling is a classic of the Ardbeg range, indeed, quite a classic in whisky as a whole. Originally, it combined old Ardbeg sherry-casked whisky with young, muscular and smoky Ardbeg – a classic use of different ages to balance a whisky and create complexity well (and, a worthwhile use of a no-age-statement whisky!). However, the age of the sherry casks, many suspect, has dropped since the initial releases. Batches also vary – the best are among the best you can buy, and the worst make you really wish you didn’t blow all the money to get a bottle (though I haven’t had a terrible batch, but a few I would definitely not pay for, if not all of them – is any whisky worth the $180 you pay in Ontario for this? Whisky, as fabulous as it is…is just whisky, and there is much to be had at a lower clip than this one). You can tell what batch you have by a bottle code on the side of the bottle which will tell you what batch your whisky is from (see here). This code on this reviewed bottle is L61360 31/03/2015 1500312 18:45.
And here we have, once again, another Highland Park. I love their whiskies, but I wanted to post this as sometimes there can be some significant variations in quality – if you ever tasted HP and weren’t impressed, it’s likely a bad batch. Despite this, they still remain one of my favorite distilleries as the quality of their liquid, when good, is absolutely phenomenal. However, the bottle I picked up last year was certainly sub-par.
A link to my previous review, along with a bit more discussion on this bottling, is provided here.