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The last time I got a chance to review Jim Beam Bourbons was in 2012, at the Spirits Confidential tasting with several ambassadors and Master Distillers. Clearly, four years between evaluations has been far too long. This time I took my time, took a seat and contemplated the whiskies alone and not in cocktails.

Tasting

Aromas and Flavors separated by ;

Apple

Pale yellow in color and…wow…I can smell what reminds me of a Jolly Rancher green apple hard candy – well before I bring the glass to my nose. (The bottle has a green apple on it and as I’m not tasting blind I may have been influenced!) Up close I also got hard cider, toasted oak and charred marshmallow; tart apple pie, caramel, honey, prune and a mouth-coating viscosity. In the flavored brown spirit category this would be a winner for those that enjoy sweeter bourbon.

From Jim Beam: Apple Liqueur blended with Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. TASTE/FINISH: Jim Beam® Apple has a juicy, fresh green apple taste with a balance of tart and sweet, and with subtle oak undertones, with a lingering apple finish and a touch of oak. PROOF: Jim Beam® Apple is bottled at 70-proof. AROMA/COLOR: Jim Beam® Apple has a fresh crisp green apple aroma with a golden honey color. MIXABILITY: Jim Beam® Apple is best enjoyed with club soda as a “Jim Beam Apple and Soda”, or on-the-rocks.

Kentucky Straight

Just a shade darker than the Apple Bourbon, but definitely more of the brown than yellow category. Lots of nuts on the nose – walnut, hazelnut and almond – as well as vanilla bean, sweet cream and lemon, all without any evidence of “nose burn”; the burn came in the mouth, but not much, followed by the same nuttiness, some orange zest, vanilla extract and a bit of overripe pineapple.

From Jim Beam: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, TASTE/FINISH: Jim Beam® Original is medium-bodied with mellow hints of caramel and vanilla, and a toasted oak finish with some sweetness. PROOF: Jim Beam® Original is bottled at 80-proof. AROMA/COLOR: Jim Beam® Original has an oak vanilla, spicy backdrop with a light caramel color. MIXABILITY: Jim Beam® Original is best enjoyed with cola as a “Jim Beam & Cola.”

Black Extra Aged

A beautiful color of yellow gold was backed up with a nose of brown sugar, white chocolate, toasted oak, bruised apple (was the Apple flavor on my mind still?) and roasted cashew; smoke, char, dark chocolate, with a welcoming mouth burn that also kept the flavors lingering for several minutes.

From Jim Beam: Extra-Aged Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. TASTE/FINISH: Jim Beam Black® has full bodied flavor with smooth caramel and warm oak notes. PROOF: Jim Beam Black® is bottled at 86-proof. AROMA/COLOR: Jim Beam Black® has a light caramel color along with toffee and tobacco aromas. MIXABILITY: Jim Beam Black® is best enjoyed on the rocks or neat.

Eve's Wine 101 Event Picks: Exploring Champagne 12/17, Stories about Cabernet 12/18, NY in Napa 12/29-1/1, Sonoma Winter Wineland 25th Anniversary 1/14-15, STARS of Santa Barbara 1/18, Palate Builder 1/21, What You Need to Know About Wine 1/23, Cambria Art/Wine Fest 1/27-29, Rhone Tasting 1/28, Wine, Cheese and Chocolate 2/11, 2/12 and 2/14, Lodi in LA 2/15. Ongoing: Events locally at Reyes Winery, Wine House events in WLA, Monopole Wine events in Pasadena and  Eve does Wine Themed Parties.

Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a "certification in first globally-recognized course" as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com