Whisky Advocate

Reviews: Jim Beam “Signature” Six Grain and Jim Beam Black

August 2nd, 2010

I received a review sample of the new Jim Beam “Signature” Six Grain bourbon, so I thought it would be fun (and informative) to compare it to it’s sibling, Jim Beam Black.

You can only find the Signature in Travel Retail outlets, but the Black is readily available. (I purchased my bottle at a local retailer.)

The Black is nice, pleasantly sweet, and fairly straight-forward, while the Signature is spicy, relatively dry, and more complex.

Jim Beam “Signature” Six Grain, 44.5%, €30

Caramel and vanilla notes, with a peppering of spice (primarily cinnamon, but also evergreen, cocoa, teaberry and nutmeg) and subtle roasted walnut, finishing dry, gritty and spicy (from the grains and also the oak). Spicier and not as sweet (when compared to its sibling Jim Beam Black, an eight year old). There’s certainly a lot going on here. A very “busy” whiskey. Intriguing too! A whiskey for exploring and discussing. (Exclusive to Travel Retail.)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 88




Jim Beam Black, 8 year old, 43%, $22

Moderately rich, with layered caramel, vanilla, fig cake and subtle sweet corn. Date, raisin, and a dusting of spice (cinnamon, cocoa, hint of ginger) round out the palate, leading to a gently sweet, soothing finish. A very versatile bourbon—certainly enjoyable enough to drink neat, but you won’t feel guilty if you make a cocktail with it or drink it on the rocks.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 84

7 Responses to “Reviews: Jim Beam “Signature” Six Grain and Jim Beam Black”

  1. DavidG says:

    Not that I am looking to move product for Jim Beam (although I am looking for friends/family to pick me up a bottle or two) the 6-grain is a 1 liter bottle, not 750ml. That makes the price differential, figuring in local tax, at about a 25% for the 6-grain – not the nearly 50% premium a quick glance would make it appear.

  2. Don Mowat says:

    John, I sure would like to see you do a review of Booker’s Bourbon. I’m curious as heck as to your take on it. I kind of put it in the group of Van Winkle Family Reserve, 15 yr old; and George T. Stagg. Not that I’m a professional, by any means.

  3. Red_Arremer says:

    So what exactly are the “six” grains?

  4. Matt B. says:

    I’m glad to read about the newest member of the Beam family, but your photo of the older sibling is outdated. Jim Beam Black has had a facelift recently. The bottle is now shaped more like a bottle of Bushmills Irish Whiskey and the label prominently states “Double Aged.” I know that just means 8 years versus 4 for Jim Beam white label, but the novice just might think it was double-barreled like Pritchards.

    • William says:

      Quite correct about the new look for Jim Beam Black. I’m still somewhat of a novice, but I never thought it was double barreled when I saw the labeling (I didn’t know there was such a phenomenon). Now I guess I should find a glass of Pritchard’s to try.

  5. Jason Debly says:

    This is a great bourbon. It and Johnnie Walker Black are my “go-to” whiskies that I always have on hand when I just want a pleasing drink.

    I really think Jim Beam Black is under rated and people overlook it due to its affordable price point.

    I hope some readers who are not familiar with it will give it a go.

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