Jim Beam’s Kentucky Dram is a member of the Beam Legends line and made to celebrate T. Jeremiah Beam, the fourth of seven generations of master distillers. Oddly enough it’s the first release in this series and one would presume we’ll see six other releases to honour the other Beam family distillers. Jim Beam Kentucky Dram is poised to be a “premium bourbon” with a blend of Jim Beam White Label and a peaty scotch from Ardmore distillery. There is no indication as to the age of the aforementioned scotch however, I have it on good authority that it is 95% Jim Beam and 5% Ardmore which is an interesting mix.
Kentucky Dram comes in at 80 Proof [40% ABV] like the standard white label and comes in at about $40 USD; but there’s a catch, it can only be found in travel shops such as Duty Free. Being as it’s a limited edition it comes in a lovely collectible tin which gives a bit more history on the legend of T. Jeremiah Beam which you can read while sipping your dram. Now, for my tasting notes:
Nose: Lots of vanilla, a hint of peat smoke which I thought would be more present, toasted oak, light cinnamon and nutmeg.
Taste: Heavy on the oak, the vanilla comes in strong, bitter green apples, oily smoke from the scotch, dried figs. A thick mouth feel that really coats the tongue.
Finish: The smoke evens out and dried fruits become more present, figs as above, apricots, even some mango. The vanilla draws that together nicely which I would say is the most present flavour throughout the tasting experience.
The reviews and comments I received had me prepared for this to be a sweeter bourbon but I’ve found it anything but. It’s more towards the savory side, it has less smoke than I would have liked and what little was there was a bit acrid, though it was ultimately short lived in the mouth. Perhaps if you drank more of this the scotch element would be more present but after only one glass, the 5% of scotch didn’t really stand out. Perhaps subtlety was the point here, just a splash of something else to bring out different notes in the whiskey.
Beam Suntory marketing director Michael Cockram said of Jim Beam Kentucky Dram:
“Bourbon is growing at a phenomenal rate across the globe and with our retail partners we are committed to building the category, focusing on premiumisation, enhancing the shopping experience and educating drinkers on bourbon’s heritage. The launch of this product will provide not only something unique for consumers in travel-retail, but also elevate bourbon by inviting consumers who already enjoy it to explore the category at a higher level.”
Is this a higher level or a premiumisation of Jim Beam’s White Label? That’s debatable, but it is a unique product and experiment blending two finished whiskies to produce an interesting flavour profile. As a limited bottling, even from a distillery the size of Beam, it was something I wanted to have for my collection, maybe it’ll grow on me after a few more drinks. If you’ve had it, what do you think of Kentucky Dram?