Whisky Advocate

Jim Beam introduces “Signature” bourbon with six grains!

July 20th, 2010

Yes, you heard right.  Six grains. And to think that we got all excited when Brown-Forman released their “Master’s Collection Four Grain” several years ago. Welcome to the new whiskey environment, where even the big boys are showing off their new experiments.

The six grains: corn, rye, barley, wheat, triticale and brown rice. According to my contact at Beam Global:

This product is a result of us mingling different Bourbons together. Each were made from a standard Bourbon recipe (high percentage of single grains). For instance, we distilled a high wheat, small grain Bourbon; a high triticale, small grain Bourbon; and a high brown rice, small grain Bourbon. Each were barreled separately and then mingled together prior to bottling.

I suspected this, given that there was no mention of the bourbon being made from a six-grain mashbill. Here are some more details from my source at Beam Global:

  • SRP in Europe is 29.99 Euros
  • These bottles are currently only available at travel retail in Europe. We may release additional bottles in the future but will most likely keep these at Duty Free retail locations.
  • We produced 13,800 bottles (2,300 cases) in total

It’s six years old and bottled at 89 proof. Interestingly, the press kit I received also mentioned that this is “the first in a series of super-premium, small-batch bourbons.”

I’ll be getting a review sample of this new whiskey this week and will let you know my thoughts after I taste it.

35 Responses to “Jim Beam introduces “Signature” bourbon with six grains!”

  1. sam k says:

    When we see the biggest bourbon maker stepping outside the accepted boundaries, American whiskey is on a roll, baby! Thanks for this encouraging news. Looking forward to your review.

  2. Neil Fusillo says:

    So this will ONLY be available in Europe and ONLY at Duty-free? Or will it be available in the US, but in Europe it will ONLY be available at Duty-free?

    I’d like to give it a try, but I don’t anticipate being in Europe any time soon.

    • Ralph Brookshire says:

      Agree with you. It kind of sucks that all of these great whiskys are only available in an airport. I know that the distributors and distillers travel a bit, but you can’t get into an airport in the states without a ticket. Makes for a very expensive bottle.

    • Kevin says:

      From what I’m hearing they are only availabe duty free in Europe. No distribution here in the U.S.

  3. Ryan says:

    This just in; World’s biggest corn whiskey manufacturer announces new six-grain brew. Corn prices plummet!

  4. Marc says:

    (Patience with the Bourbon noob please.) Bourbon requires a mashbill of 51% corn at least correct? So if they say “high wheat, small grain Bourbon”, does that mean at least 51% corn, lots of % wheat, and then a little % other grains?

    • Kevin says:

      Correct. It would be interesting to see the mash bill for each of the bourbons used. If each only contained the standard 3 grains, or if they incorporated more…

      • John Hansell says:

        My impression is that each whiskey in the “blend” was a three grain. The common grains for all would be, naturally, corn and malted barley. The “small grain” as they put it would vary in each whiskey: rye, wheat, triticale and brown rice.

        • Ryan says:

          I wonder if this was the intent when they distilled these whiskeys….?

          • Kevin says:

            I’ve got to think that these bourbons were made for this bottling as I doubt Beam would just distill a batch of triticale bourbon and brown rice bourbon. As for the wheated bourbon, maybe not… I don’t believe they have a wheated bourbon in their portfolio (Maker’s doesn’t count) so maybe they were looking at doing one.

          • John Hansell says:

            I think these whiskeys were produced for the sole purpose of experimenting. It just took this long for the products to mature to the point where they felt comfortable releasing it.

          • Ryan says:

            This is very interesting stuff. Does triticale or rice appear in any other whiskey you know of?

  5. Jon says:

    Marc – yep, you got it

  6. Bob Siddoway says:

    Should be awesome. I’m a huge Beam fan, though, especially Bookers, Bakers, and Knob. I heard they’re coming out with a new variation of Knob which makes me giddy. Now if I could only get barrel proof Bakers. :)

  7. Whiskeyminis says:

    It can be purchased via Ebay germany (ebay.de)
    http://cgi.ebay.de/Jim-Beam-Signature-6-Years-Six-Grains-44-5-alc-1-Ltr-/270586888304?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Spirituosen&hash=item3f003c4070
    It is a bit more expensive than in the shop but cheaper than a plain ticket.
    I bought mine at upper store. I have another one coming with a friend who bought it at a turkish airfield. He paid 30 euro.

  8. JWC says:

    i’ll be traveling to europe in a few weeks on a business trip – i’m going to have to take along a bag (with bubble wrap) so i can buy a couple of bottles if john thinks it’s worthwhile. the bourbon selection in duty free stores at airports is pitiful. something to look forward to now (although i’d prefer it if they just sold it here in the us of a).

  9. JWC says:

    question: if it turned out very well, wouldn’t they have just sold it in the usa (and probably charge more than 30 euro)? i can’t remember which bourbon or which distiller said it but in the past, didn’t they mention that the overseas only stuff was stuff that wasn’t all that good (relatively speaking)?

    • Kevin says:

      I think that may be true in some cases – but i’ve heard great things about the Japanese Maker’s Mark release from years ago and the Blanton’s bottlings that are only available outside of the U.S.

      • John Hansell says:

        Kevin, I have the Maker’s Mark Black Wax from years ago and I like it better than the new Maker’s 46.

        • Kevin says:

          I’ve never had the chance to taste it and tracking a bottle down now (even on eBay) is next to impossible! I’ll eventually track one down though!

  10. John Hansell says:

    Chuck Cowdery has some more information here on his blog.

    I also wanted to say that I got a review sample today and will be tasting it very soon (and comparing it to Jim Beam Black).

  11. Bacchus says:

    Being new to the world of whiskey; is there a link to an article that would explain the business of why a U.S. distiller/bottler would only market their product to a foreign market? It is a little frustrating to see an interesting whiskey expression from a major company in your own country and yet not have accesses to it in your country.

    • Neil Fusillo says:

      It’s about exclusivity, which has shown to be a very popular marketing tool. I can’t recall which, but it started with a fragrance company selling a particular women’s perfume exclusively in duty-free, which proved to be exceedingly popular. People bought it (at an inflated price, I might add) in order to join that limited group that had access to a particular item. They paid extra, essentially, to have something that other people couldn’t easily get.

      After that, other products have been tried, each meeting with similar successes. Whisky manufacturers are just doing the same thing — creating a brand that can only be bought by a select group who are willing to pay a premium for something that others can’t have. Why they’re ONLY releasing it in Europe duty-free is perhaps because more Americans travel to Europe on vacation than other destinations outside the country, and when they travel home, they like to shop duty-free (since shopping duty-free on the WAY to a vacation spot is not as popular). American bourbon isn’t generally as popular with Europeans as it is with Americans, so the likely target market IS Americans who are coming home after a vacation and who want to splurge on something that their friends at home can’t get.

      Expect the price to be high, regardless of quality. And yes, it’s frustrating, but marketing gimmicks often are, really.

      • Bacchus says:

        Neil,
        I really appreciate the time you took with the detailed information. It really is very much appreciated to have such a great forum as this. Thanks!

      • Whiskeyminis says:

        This is just a guess;
        But in the most Duty free shops you can find specials from several Scottish Whiskies .
        Al the Beam they have is the same as in every other shop in the country.

  12. Bacchus says:

    Neil,
    I really appreciate the time you took with the detailed information. It really is very much appreciated to have such a great forum as this. Thanks!

  13. Red_Arremer says:

    What is tricitale?

  14. Ed Rigsbee says:

    This Jim Beam “Signature” bottle looks curiously close to the bottle of “Kirkland Signature” premium small batch Bourbon (aged 7 years) that I bought at the Westlake Village, CA Costco today for $19.95. The Costco bottle is 1L as opposed to most that are .750ML. The proof is 103. I tasted it next to Knob Creek and it was quite similar. Does anybody know anything about this “Kirkland” bourbon? Thank you.

  15. James K says:

    Ed, nice observation. The bottles do look similar, but the age and proofing is different. So, is this the same stuff?

  16. Ed Rigsbee says:

    My guess is that Jim Beam is doing some kind of special bottling for Costco. The Costco magazine mentioned that there were only 30,000 cases produced.

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