The Jim Beam White Label; a starter bourbon that mixes well, but not made for sipping.
We often get asked why we bother reviewing industrially-produced, economy-level whiskies like the Jack Daniels Old No 7, Jameson Irish Whiskey and now the Jim Beam White Label. The reason is simple and one you should all take to heart. If you want to truly understand what the identifiable qualities of a high-end or expensive spirit, you have to have something to compare and contrast it to. Generic, widely available and cheap whiskies make the best points of reference. We only know that The Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Oak is worth every penny of its $90 price tag because we've compared it to cheaper 12-year-old whiskies and concluded that it is that much better than them and worth paying an extra $40 for.
The Jim Beam White Label is by far the most often sold Kentucky Straight Bourbon in the world. Its cheap price tag and almost global availability means it's responsible for more hangovers (and probably abortions) than any other bourbon.
This is a no age statement bourbon but Jim Beam says it's matured for at least 4 years and you can tell it's a young bourbon as it is very sweet on the nose and palate. The longer a bourbon is matured the less sweet it becomes as the extra time in the casks causes the spirit to take out more tannins from the oak wood which dries the spirit making it less sweet.
On the nose, you'll get, as mentioned above, sweetness, caramel, confectionery, cola, a light fruitiness, vanilla and corn. There's not much depth or complexity. The palate is actually quite similar to the nose. Sweetness, caramel, some spiciness and vanilla. The finish is medium length with vanilla and corn present for a while.
In all honesty, it's a bland whiskey but you shouldn't have expected anything more from a $15 bottle of bourbon. It's a starter bourbon that mixes well but it's not made for sipping.