Jim Beam Double Oak
As I stared at the shelves for something to purchase, my eyes caught a bottle that I hadn't purchased in a while. In these inflationary times, I hoped I had spent my Jackson well and wouldn't have buyer's remorse. Today, we take a look at an easy upsell in the Jim Beam lineup - Jim Beam Double Oak.
Double Oak takes the standard Jim Beam mash bill – 77% corn, 13% rye, and 10% malted barley, and ages it for the standard 4 years (it is labeled as a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky). It is then dumped and placed into a new, charred oak barrel, where it is aged to taste. The finished product is proofed to 86 proof - similar in proof to Jim Beam Black Label - and both carry a similar price point (around $20 - $22).
From the Beam website, we're told to expect rich notes of caramel and vanilla with hints of toasted wood in addition to intense caramel and toffee flavors with a distinctive spiced oakiness.
Eye: Medium amber with several medium legs dripping down the sides of the glass. Similar in color to Jim Beam Black, though if you were expecting a color as deep as Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, you'll be disappointed.
Nose: Traditional Jim Beam notes of vanilla and toffee and some roasted nuts - like Cracker Jack caramel corn.
Palate: Sweet vanilla followed quickly with oaky wood char and spice. Definitely more interesting than Jim Beam White Label.
Finish: Medium-long, starting with vanilla with a burst of toasted oak and baking spice.
Overall: Double Oaked bourbons are an interesting lot. Similar to other bourbons finished in a second cask, there are no rules on how long it stays in the second barrel - a day, a month, a year? It would be interesting to know.
As I mentioned earlier, this doesn't seem to have spent as much time in the barrel as a Woodford Reserve Double Oaked or Old Forester 1910. Then again, it's about a third of the price of each of those brands. It's also interesting to consider that some of the input costs for a double oaked bourbon are, well, double. That second barrel - it has to also be a new unused barrel. And like other bourbon barrels, after they're used for bourbon, they can't be used again for bourbon. Most find their way to breweries, across the pond for whiskeys, or down to the Caribbean to age rum.
Overall, this isn't bad for the price point, especially considering that two, virgin barrels were used to make this product. On paper, this may be the least expensive double-barreled bourbon.
It definitely offers more layered flavors than Jim Beam White Label, though it would be interesting to see a side-by-side with Old Tub and Jim Beam Black Label. With a lower proof than Old Tub, this is an easy sipper - especially neat or during warmer months. While I generally keep some Old Tub or Jim Beam Black around, when this one empties, it might just get replaced with another. They say returning shoppers are one of the best signs of satisfied shoppers. Cheers!