Whiskey price

Jim Beam Hardin’s Creek Whiskey is a mixed bag – Robb Report

There’s a lot going on at the James B. Beam Distilling Company, as Jim Beam’s home in Clermont, Kentucky is now officially known. Some of the most intriguing whiskeys coming out of Beam these days are the work of Freddie Noe (who now holds the title of co-master distiller with his father Fred Noe), in particular his line of Little Book blended whiskies. The father-son distilling duo are the force behind the new Hardin’s Creek brand, an ongoing release that will consist of limited edition whiskeys that deviate from the well-known Beam whiskey range.

Hardin’s Creek launches in June with two new whiskeys, Jacob’s Well and the curiously young Colonel James B. Beam. While most whiskey drinkers know that age is just a number, releasing a two-year-old bourbon for $80 is indeed a bold move. I had the opportunity to chat with the Noes about what goes into these whiskeys and why they decided to launch this new series.

Let’s first look at the what and why of whisky. Hardin’s Creek takes its name from the creek that fed founder Jacob Beam’s mill in 1795, when he was just beginning to make whisky.

“During my career, I have often wondered how I can pay homage to what Jacob has done…So this brand would be a cool place for me, specifically to draw inspiration from the history of Hardin’s Creek” , said Freddie. Robb Report. “You will see a lot of whiskey come to life under this brand.”

Tim Blokel/Jim Beam

If the name Jacob’s Well sounds familiar, it’s because a bottling of the same name was launched in 1995 to celebrate Beam’s 200th anniversary, but didn’t quite do as well as the company did. hoped. The Old Jacob’s Well was aged for 84 months and bottled at 84 degrees, and was a blend of the regular Beam mashbill and the high rye Old Grand Dad mashbill. The new Jacob’s Well release is also a blend of the two mashbills, each aged for 184 months (just over 15 years) and bottled at 108 degrees. The gritty and nutty character of Beam is present on the palate but with a richer and more mature base line, with lots of cherry, pineapple and ripe fruit notes, some creamy custard and butterscotch, ripe plum and a little smoky arctic char on the finish. .

Harness details of Col. James B. of Hardin's Creek

Tim Blokel/Jim Beam

Col. James B. Beam, on the other hand, is hard to fathom, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. It is distilled at a lower proof (115) than other Beam whiskeys in order to amplify the flavors derived from fermentation and to allow the barrel sugars to blend more extensively with the liquid. It is bottled at 108 proof like Jacob’s Well. Some of the first whiskeys sold out of the distillery after Prohibition were also called Colonel James B. Beam and were two years old because at the time the law required it. This whiskey has adhered to the regular Beam process in terms of production, which makes one wonder if it is essentially a younger Jim Beam bottled at a higher proof. And while it’s different from the main whisky, overall it seems to be very much tied to Jim Beam’s story. “A lot of our other brands are surrounded by guardrails in terms of evidence and age, so these new releases can really be storytelling pieces,” Freddie says.

Harness details of Col. James B. of Hardin's Creek

Tim Blokel/Jim Beam

The story here reads over two years old, but is still much younger than anything you’ve probably tried from Beam before. The flavor profile is classic Beam with more heat from the highest proof, with nutty and grainy notes, as well as popcorn, vanilla, caramel, baked apple, zesty cinnamon and allspice. One note that keeps popping into my head as I sip is Entenmann’s crumb cake, a nostalgic flavor from childhood for many.

Beam is a distillery and business, like Jack Daniel’s, that could just rely on its hugely popular core line and flavored whiskeys and not worry about line extensions or innovations. The bigwigs would continue to make big bucks and the customers probably wouldn’t complain. But the last few years have proven that this will not be the case, and the world of spirits is better off for it. Hardin’s Creek is a mixed bag, but that’s okay because while every version can’t be a winner, I’m happy to try whiskeys that stray from the norm. I think a glaring problem is the price of Col. James B. Beam, which I think is wildly inflated (for that money, I’d stick with Col. EH Taylor, if you can find him at SRP). Still, I can’t wait to see what Fred and Freddie have in store with the next Hardin’s Creek release.

Scores: Jacob’s Well – 90; Colonel James B. Beam – 80

Pre-Order Now (Jacob’s Well): $149.99

Pre-Order Now (Jacob’s Well): $79.99

What our scores mean

  • 100: It’s worth exchanging your firstborn for
  • 95 – 99 At the Pantheon: A trophy for the firm
  • 90 – 94 Great: An enthusiastic wink from friends when you pour them a drink
  • 85 – 89 Very Good: Delicious enough to buy, but not special enough to seek aftermarket
  • 80 – 84 Good: More of your everyday drinker, strong and reliable
  • Below 80 It’s OK: Honestly, we probably won’t waste your time and ours with this.

Every week, Jonah Flicker tastes the hottest and most interesting whiskeys in the world. Check back every Friday for its latest review.