Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye Review


Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye Review

From what I can tell the Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye is just their regular Jim Beam Rye bottled at a higher proof and, like the Jim Beam Bonded, seems to just be a marketing ploy when it comes to the pre-pro labeling. The press release says that the recipe has been reformulated using “one of the Beam family’s oldest recipes”, but it never mentions what that reformulation means.

Is it more rye or less rye? By how much? Seriously Beam if you’re not going to release the details then why even bring it up? I agree with Chuck Cowdery on many things and secret mashbills being stupid is definitely one of them. So what if someone copies your mashbill? They don’t have your yeast, your warehouses, your blender, etc. They can’t actually copy your whiskey exactly (the Heaven Hill relocation proved that) so why hide it? All it does is cause suspicion and make us think you’re lying when you say you “reformulated your recipe”.

Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye Info

Region: Kentucky, USA

Distiller: Jim Beam
Mashbill: It’s a secret
Cask: New charred oak
Age: NAS (at least 4 years)
ABV: 45%

Price: $19

Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye Review


Caramel, butterscotch, citrus, toffee, vanilla and some spice start things out on a nice note. It’s a little on the light side, but nice. Some mild hints of saw dust, yeast and fresh latex paint haunt the background and ultimately end up clashing instead of compliment the initial sweet and spicy aroma.

Biscuity raw grains, caramel, spice and vanilla make the bulk of the palate. Some light notes of wood, raw sugar and soda water add some complexity, but don’t really enhance the overall character and it ends up feeling a bit underwhelming. I think it’s the low rye mashbill because in the end it really just ends up tasting like a Jim Beam White with a touch more spice.

Med finish of grains, caramel, saw dust and spice.

Ok balance, medium body and a mild smooth texture.

Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye smells like a stronger Old Overholt, but tastes like a spicier version of Jim Beam White and in the end doesn’t taste or smell much different than the old yellow label. I don’t exactly know why it’s called pre-prohibition rye because the only difference I can find from the normal rye is that this has 5% more alcohol and a green label. It does taste a bit better, but they try to position it as a totally different product when in reality it seems to be the same old Jim Beam Rye with a little less water in it.

SCORE: 82/100

Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 82
  • Palate - 82
  • Finish - 82
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 82


Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye might be cheap, but there are better tasting ryes out there, like Rittenhouse, for just a little more scratch.

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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Filed Under: Rye

9 Responses to Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye Review

  1. I read somewhere that Beam wanted some separation in proof points for Overholt, Beam Rye, and Knob Creek Rye, so they’re phasing out the yellow label rye for the new green label. Overholt is 80 proof, Beam is now 90, and Knob Creek is 100.

  2. You covered every single thought I had about this rye, right down to saying Rittenhouse is much better for the same price (I get them both for $20). I do disagree on one point–I can’t stand the bitterness that dominates Jim Beam White (and thus consider it Undrinkable), but, thank goodness, this rye does not have that bitterness.

    • Thanks Jim. I’ve read about other folks getting a bitterness on JBW, but I never get that. I always get more of a yeastiness, like bread dough. Matter of perception I guess. Cheers Jim!

  3. Our whiskey group enjoyed the green label JB rye and thought it one of the better, we have not tried this one. The relabelling is, as you saif, a marketing technique. Near the same a sourced whiskey. Glad to see reviews on whiskey one can actually find in a store.

  4. I recently bought a bottle of this as it is the first bottle of Rye I’ve ever bought, let alone tried. I enjoy it. Not my favorite whiskey, but I can easily finish off this bottle.

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