Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 Year Old - Strangely Inoffensive

The Jim Beam Signature Craft line came out last year with a 12 year old bourbon and a bourbon combined with Spanish brandy.  This is the 12 year old version, officially titled the Signature Craft Small Batch 12 year old (with a name clearly designed to use as many meaningless buzz words as possible). 

Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 yo, 43% abv ($38)

The nose on this is very Beam with honey, berries and floral notes.  The palate is also very solidly in the Beam wheelhouse, but the extra age shows its impact.  It starts light and sweet like a regular Beam, but quickly gets some oak good oak notes.  By late palate, the oak notes have grown a bit bitter, but there's enough sweetness in the finish to balance it out.   

I'm not a Beam fan and have pretty low expectations of their new releases, but this is actually pretty decent, showing some balance and complexity, and a solid step up from the standard Beam line.  And to give credit where credit is due, Beam added an age statement bourbon in a world where age statements are rapidly becoming and endangered species.  It's not something I would covet, but I certainly wouldn't mind ordering it in a bar, and it's priced pretty fairly by today's standards for a bourbon if its age.


Anonymous said...

I felt the oak on this 12-year subdues the standard bourbon toffee/vanilla, and the rye spice... what little there is. Nothing wrong with it, I just prefer Elijah Craig 12.
But yes... very nice to see additional age statement products minus the gimmicky marketing and ludicrous pricing.

Jason Q. said...

I liked this reasonably well, though I like the new Single Barrel more.

Either is a damn sight better than regular ol' Beam.

Alex said...

Sku, I know you're not a Beam fan, but do you have any opinion on how this compares with Knob Creek? Thanks.

sku said...

Alex, to tell you the truth, it's been ages since I had the standard Knob Creek, but I've never been much of a fan, so, assuming KC's profile hasn't changed too much, my guess would be that I would prefer this one to standard KC.

Alex said...

Thanks for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Inoffensive is a great way to describe the Jim Beam Signature Craft. Other ways to describe it include OK, not outstanding, acceptable, good-but-not-great, and mediocre-ish. I finished a bottle over the course of a couple of months and can't say I thought it was anything better at any point. It is balanced and even, but the rye is toned down and it lacks in complexity, in my opinion.