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Battle of the Bourbons: Jim Beam Bonded vs. Old Tub

I’ve shared before that Old Tub is a great product, suitable for an everyday pour. One bourbon aficionado exclaimed he could “drink the sh*t out of this every day”. While I used to see the Jim Beam Bonded product on store shelves somewhat infrequently, I recently heard that Jim Beam was going to discontinue this rendition of their popular brand.


While there still remains a decent amount of supply of Jim Beam Bonded, I thought we should sample these two side-by-side before a comparison is lost forever. Both products are bottled-in-bond, assuring us that the products are from the same distilling season by the same distiller at the same distillery, have been aged at least 4 years, has had nothing added or changed other than filtration and proofing, and has been proofed to exactly 100-proof.


Beyond the bottled-in-bond standards, both products share the common Jim Beam mash bill: 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. This low-rye mash bill is shared by Jim Beam proper, as well as Knob Creek, Baker’s, and Old Crow.


One differentiator between the two is that Old Tub is a non-chill filtered product. This style of bourbon, highlighted in their Repeal Batch special release, allows some of the oils, fatty acids, and esters to remain in the product, allowing a “thicker mouthfeel”. For many years, Old Tub was only available for purchase at the Beam distillery; now it has become widely available (though I’d add that it certainly isn’t as widespread as Jim Beam and Knob Creek).


Jim Beam Bonded

Old Tub

Eye

Amber with thin, lacy legs in the glass

Amber, with a similar display of legs in the glass

Nose

Classic Jim Beam nose,

with vanilla and caramel

followed by a slight nuttiness. Some mint present, but only after tasting.

There is the “Jim Beam nose” of vanilla and caramel, though slightly more pronounced than Jim Beam Bonded. Also some fruity orange zest and spearmint. This feels more “layered” and more "interesting” than Jim Beam Bonded.

Palate

Sweet with caramel and vanilla followed by oak char and spice. Some peanut notes.

Sweet and silky with caramel and vanilla, along with deeper chewy toffee notes. A thicker mouthfeel, for sure, with a similar oak char and spice on the backside.

Finish

Medium-long with vanilla

and oak char

Long with rich vanilla toffee

and oak char.

Overall

Pleasing.

3.5 / 5.0


This is a solid Jim Beam pour. As Jim Beam Bonded disappears, Jim Beam Black may be a close substitute.

Very pleasing.

4.0 / 5.0


While both of these are great pours, if Jim Beam Bonded is disappearing, it has been replaced with an even better product.

Similar to some bourbons on the market, I’ve really become a fan of the

non-chill filtration”.

It feels more “natural

and “authentic”.

Price

$20

$22





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