Jim Beam White Label Review

Jim Beam White Label Review

The infamous Jim Beam White Label. It’s about as synonymous with bourbon as you can get. Cheap, readily available and the flagship of the massive Beam Inc. beverage machine (now Suntory). It’s the best selling bourbon in the world and when you think about how Beam started it’s all the more impressive to see what they have become.

The Beam family started out as farmers in Kentucky and started distilling in 1795 and now they own dozens of companies and brands across the globe. Since their humble beginning a member of the family has always been the master distiller at Jim Beam, though family distillers aren’t the only tradition there at Beam. They have been using the same strain of yeast for over 75 years and is a closely guarded asset with copies being cultivated in multiple locations to keep it from ever dying out. That’s dedication.

Overall the Jim Beam white is an ok bourbon. It’s not a killer bourbon that’s going to bring down the house and send you into spasms of rapturous joy, but it’s also not horrific. The aroma, the taste, the feel and everything about it is just sort of… there. I’m not turning my nose up to it, but the lack of excitement and the fact that there are other, tastier, options out there for roughly the same price means that it’s not likely I’ll be buying another bottle of Jim Beam White Label anytime soon.

Jim Beam White Label Review

ABV: 40%
Price: $16
Distiller: Jim Beam
Aged: 4 years

Pale caramel bordering on rusty orange

First up is a watery caramel bolstered by that unforgettable Jim Beam spice and corn. Deeper in there lie notes of vanilla, citrus zest and red licorice with a very slight herbal quality to it.

The flavor and the aroma are remarkably similar, which isn’t always the case with whiskey. The caramel and that unique Jim Beam spice define the flavor of this bourbon. It pulls everything else into place and lets some of the underlying corn, anise, vanilla and citrus zest shine through with some yeast hanging out in the background.

It’s a very easy drinking bourbon with a relaxed and simple mouthfeel that holds little excitement, but also makes it very accessible.

Long finish of watery caramel, corn, citrus and a faint bit of oak.

SCORE: 79/100

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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22 Responses to Jim Beam White Label Review

  1. When I was just out of college and broke as a joke, Jim Beam White was my sippin’ (and sometimes mixin’) whiskey. Although I occasionally splurged on a fancier scotch or bourbon, I kept coming back to JB for the price and passable flavor. Now 5 years later I can’t stand the stuff. There are many better options out there, some at the same or extremely similar price point.

  2. It’s funny because you almost want it to be worse than it is, because it’s so ubiquitous and corporate, but it’s just not. It’s good. “Watery caramel” is a nice way of putting it. Beam white is never my first, or second, or third choice, but it’s also something I’d never pass up if offered to me, or if it’s the only affordable option when I’m not flush. It’s the beauty of Bourbon and it’s strict regulations, it kind of has to be decent. Beam has nothing very interesting or challenging about it, but it’s a bit more than “meh”, the caramel and allspice thing it has going is plenty nice. And unlike cheap scotches, or Jack Daniels, it’s never ever undrinkable.

  3. I’m thinking of buying a big bottle just my 350ml plastic bottle experience was awful aniseed tasting and instant hangover. All my miniature purchases of jim beam white have been fantastic and drink it fresh on ice or ginger ale. Little bitterness, you can taste the sour mash corn, retained oak with a little caramel and nut. Should I take a chance on a 700ml bottle?

  4. The new label and bottle sucks. Trying to be like Jack it won’t work. I loved the look and feel of the old textured plastic coated label. The new paper labels are garbage. Thank God they kept the handle though.

  5. If you like rubbing alcohol, you will love Jim Beam even more. It is truly a step above rubbing alcohol but not a lot. For the price, go with Evan Williams (especially the BIB version) from the other side of the Beam family.

  6. This was my introduction to Bourbon many years (decades!) ago, and as a result, for several years I thought I didn’t like Bourbon. Since then, Bourbon has become my favorite distilled spirit.

    My biggest issue with Beam White Label is that if I drink even a little of it I get a raging headache several hours later. Not sure what’s up with that, but as a homebrewer I know fermentation can produce a lot of trace by-products — some good, some bad. I guess Beam just has more of something in it that I’m sensitive to.

  7. I just finished a bottle of WT 101, Blantons original, Buffalo Trace, OGD 114 and Elijah Craig NAS. The only thing available local and fast was JB white for 28.00 in a 750ml plastic. It’s ok but not my first choice. Did they change the liquor in 15 years? In my 20’s JB white seemed a bit better or thicker seems bland now. Will get the job done though.

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