Jim Beam Signature Craft (Spanish Brandy)

In the summer of 2013, Jim Beam released the first two offerings in its "Signature Craft" series.  Along with its 12 Year Old bourbon (which has been the mainstay product in the line), the distillery surprised many with a NAS bourbon (considered to be 7-8 years old) finished with a "touch" of rare Spanish brandy. 

Brandy (short for brandywine, which is Dutch for "burned wine") is simply distilled juice or wine and therefore introduces a lush, fruity element to the oaky, spicy characteristics that the 7-8 year old bourbon delivers. 

While "the touch" of brandy (said to be no more than 2% of the final product) moves the bourbon into the category of "flavored whiskey" under the applicable regulation, no one can dispute the Beam's Innovation Team has developed an interesting and relatively affordable product.

Jim Beam Signature Craft (finished with Spanish Brandy)

Jim Beam/Suntory
86 proof
$39 at ABC in Salisbury, NC

Color: Golden/tawny.  On the light side for a bourbon aged 7-8 years. 

Nose: The nose is interesting indeed.  The fruit is prominent, in the realm of cherry cola, but the overall aroma is not too sweet.  Dampened oak and leather assert themselves, and a little alcohol spice/kick hangs around too. 

Tasting Notes:  Sweet corn and oak spice lead the charge but the fruity brandy note appears mid-sip and lingers through the finish.  A cherry/raisiny brandywine finish is evident but never dominant.  

Overall: C+.  The Beam team took a risk with the "touch" of rare Spanish brandy, but it dulls the bourbon flavors instead of enhancing them.  For $40, the other Jim Beam Signature Craft expressions are better buys.

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