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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

September 2, 2013


Jack Daniel’s vs. Jim Beam Black

Yes, Serge speaking. After more than eleven years of whisky blogging, it’s maybe time that I tasted the regular Jack Daniel’s ‘black’ and, while I’m at it, Jim Beam Black. I’ve never tasted any of these before, I mean ‘formally’, and not too sure I should have anyway. On the other hand, Jack Daniel’s just announced a massive extension of their distillery in Lynchburg, so this is a good occasion. Or not. We’ll probably keep this short.

Jack Daniel's Old No.7 (40%, OB, USA, Tennessee Whiskey, +/-2013)

Jack Daniel's Old No.7 (40%, OB, USA, Tennessee Whiskey, +/-2013) Two stars Colour: full gold. Nose: sawdust, vanilla and maple syrup everywhere, with a little coconut and maybe orange marmalade in the background. That’s all. This is very simple but it’s quite appealing and certainly ultra-easy, I can see why this baby is so popular all over the world. Maybe also touches of banana liqueur. Mouth: oh my! It tastes more like some kind of liqueur than like whisky. Little Easter eggs in sugar, various fruit liqueurs, jellybeans, banana, vanilla, corn syrup, touches of ginger and white pepper, nutmeg and that’s all. Finish: short but pleasantly candied. More raw alcohol in the aftertaste. Comments: this is not to my liking (much too smooth and sweet) but it’s not a disaster. Maybe not to be sipped ‘neat’ but it’s one of the easiest and sweetest whiskies I’ve ever tried. Fair, honest and loyal, I’d say. I’ll try to taste Jack Daniel’s again in ten or twelve years. SGP:730 - 70 points.

Jim Beam Black (43%, OB, USA, Straight Bourbon, +/-2010)

Jim Beam Black (43%, OB, USA, Straight Bourbon, +/-2010) Two stars Colour: full gold (exactly the same nuance as JD, how clever is that?) Nose: we’re in the same league but this is rather less sexy-ha-ha-easy-ha-ha, relatively more austere (but it’s very far from being austere whisky), with rather more orange marmalade and maybe a little less vanilla. Certainly less maple syrup! A little more ginger too, which should suggest more oak. Fresh oak, obviously. Mouth: yet again, it’s a bigger, spicier, less smooth and sweet expression but the styles are pretty similar, seen from here (I’m sure bourbon freaks will find many more differences). More pepper and ginger, cloves, cardamom… Having said that it becomes much sweeter after thirty seconds, it’s really sweet-oak-infused. Finish: longer than the JD, and mostly spicier. Pencil shavings in the aftertaste. Comments: same ballpark. I tend to like this a notch better but I think that just like JD, it’s whisky that ought to be mixed or, at least, chilled. SGP:740 - 71 points.

Good, we just cannot stop here, let’s have just another American with a black label, this time a Rittenhouse that I’ve always quite enjoyed every time I could have a sip of it. Let’s see if newer batches are still to my liking.

Rittenhouse (100° US proof – 50%, OB, USA, Straight Rye, +/-2012)

Rittenhouse (100° US proof – 50%, OB, USA, Straight Rye, +/-2012) Three stars Colour: dark gold. Nose: this is obviously much nicer. Granted, it’s just as much ‘too oaky’ as the others, but it’s also fuller and a little more complex, with café latte, vanilla (of course), sweet orange and ginger liqueurs, then coconut and corn syrup, honey, a pack of liquorice allsorts and more and more custard. It’s hard to dislike this nose! Mouth: same feeling, this is immediately both easy and sweet, and complex and challenging. This must be the rye. So bags of Seville oranges, wheelbarrows of liquorice, a few violet or even lavender drops, Haribo bears, then more ‘traditional’ dried fruits such as figs and raisins and lastly, some kind of Indonesian spicy coconut sauce. Forgot the name, silly me. Finish: quite long, with a spirit that truly balances the heavy oak impact, which was less the case with the heavier sellers. Comments: it’s not a style that I enjoy, but this baby certainly tops it. Do you see what I mean? SGP:631 - 82 points.

And now I’ll blend all this and sip it on ice, something I never, ever do. Hope the neighbours won’t notice.


Whiskyfun fav of the month

August 2013

Favourite recent bottling:
Glendronach 20 yo 1993/2013 (52.9%, OB, batch 8, oloroso sherry butt, cask #3, 633 bottles)  - WF 92

Favourite older bottling:
Glen Moray 25 yo 1959/1984 (46%, Samaroli, sherry hogshead, 240 bottles) - WF 93

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Bruichladdich 2002/2013 (55.2%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon barrel, cask #MoS 13026, 235 bottles) - WF 90







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