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Jim Beam Choice Bourbon Whiskey (700ml)
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- ABV 37%
Jacob Beam came to Kentucky in 1788. He made and sold his first whiskey in 1795. Dozens of Jacob's descendants followed his lead, including a great grandson who became the most famous Beam of all, Jim Beam. Booker Noe, Jim Beam's grandson, is justifiably proud of his family's heritage. Part of that heritage is the Beam yeast. "We are still using the same strain of yeast that my grandfather picked up here," explains Booker. "It's a spontaneous yeast, where you make a sweet slurry of barley malt, hops, and pick your yeast up naturally out of the air. It is more than 60 years old now. My grandmother told me, 'Jim stunk us out of the house. That yeast smelled up the whole house when he was fooling with it here right after Prohibition.'"
Developing a yeast strain the old-fashioned way takes special skill. "You don't always have success when you pick this yeast up," says Booker. "You set the sweet slurry outside in the summertime or spring and let it naturally pick up yeast from the air. Lots of times, you don't have a success at getting what you are looking for and it sours out. When it ferments, you keep fermenting it from one batch to another. All of a sudden, there it is." The use of wild yeast, as opposed to a pure culture, is one of the things that makes Jim Beam Bourbon unique. "We are practical distillers," says Booker, "not scientific. It's a natural thing."
Booker is also proud of his grandfather's other accomplishments. "My grandfather was 55 years old when Prohibition came in," he says, "and it was repealed when he was 70. He still had enough spunk at 70 years old -- and that's one of the things I marvel at -- at 70 years old he came in here and built the distillery, built his warehouses, set his stills up and got that thing running and ran it for 10 years himself, until he was 80 years old, he and his son, Jeremiah. That is why Jim Beam (the company) came back after Prohibition, because the man had the know-how to do it, where a lot of them faded out during Prohibition. It is a tribute to him, a great thing."
Other reviews.. Very softly oaked and vaugley nutty nose. Big caramel kick gives a suprising sweet taste and gentle edge. Soft spice lift the sleepy corn on the finish. Soft and impressive in places with the emphasis on natural caramel. A slightly different Beam style. 37% alc./vol.
Rating: 86 - tasting note sourced from Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible, 2006
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