Two years ago, we spent a holiday weekend in Louisville taking in several of the local bourbon sites, including the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse. While touring the facility, we had the opportunity to purchase Old Tub – only available at a Jim Beam facility. The story goes that Old Tub was some of finest bourbon produced and was reserved exclusively for the Beam family.
A Nod to a Historic Brand
Between 1880 and 1943, Old Tub was sold by the Beam family. Midway through the second World War, the bourbon was rebranded Jim Beam. The Old Tub expression thought to be made from 4 and 5 year bourbons and forgoes chill filtration. Many modern bourbons utilize chill filtrations to remove some of the fatty acids and esters. By leaving these particulates in the bourbon, Beam leaves a more viscous, full-bodied authentic flavor. Jim Beam’s Repeal Batch expression, bottled at a lower proof, similarly left out the chill filtration and produced a great tasting product.
In addition, the label carries the bottled-in-bond designation, indicating it adheres to the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. To be bottled-in-bond, it must be the product of a single distillation season, by one distiller, at one distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse under US government supervision for at least 4 years, and bottled at 100 proof.
Old Tub, a reference to the large vats in which the mash is mixed and cooked, is made from 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. I found this bottle in a major regional liquor store for $22.
Eye: Copper with long, slender legs when swirled in the glass.
Nose: Light and fragrant vanilla and caramel dominate this expression.
Palate: Sweet vanilla and caramel up front, along almond paste and marzipan. Toasted oak and gentle spices follow with a light and smooth mouthfeel.
Finish: Medium-long with vanilla followed by spice and oak.
Overall: Similar in price to Jim Beam Bonded, I find this expression, with the non-chill filtration, to be more flavorful and with a wonderful chew. For $22 this is a great everyday bourbon, a delightful up-sell from Jim Beam White, and I recommend you keep your eyes open for this bottle. It’s perfect for enjoying as you like it – neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail. I tip my hat to Fred Noe – Master Distiller and great grandson to Jim Beam. Thanks for honoring a historic label in the Jim Beam story.