Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Jim Beam. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
The bourbon family tree would not be complete without James Beam. In May of this year, the James B. Beam Distilling Company celebrated more than 225 years making bourbon. At the celebration, the First Family of Bourbon will be expanding on their legacy as they open the Fred B. Noe Distillery. At the helm of the distillery is Freddie Noe, the late Booker Noe’s grandson.
Freddie is the eighth Beam generation master distiller. He took his father’s vision, who the Fred B. Noe Distillery is named after, and actualized it. Although Fred Noe regretted not distilling alongside his father, Booker, he now gets to run the family business with his son. At the newest distillery, all the practices, recipes, and whiskeys fully draw from centuries of family history.
A great example of this is the new product line, Hardin’s Creek. In 1795, Johannes Jacob Beam set roots in Kentucky by this water source. Beam built a mill along the creek to grind the corn and grain of his earliest mashes. Without Hardin’s Creek, the legacy of the Beam name would not be what it is today.
The Hardin’s Creek line features two Kentucky straight bourbons: Jacob’s Well and Colonel James B. Beam. The whiskeys are annual limited releases, but the Jacob’s Well is a blend to feature some pretty old and rare liquid from the James B. Beam Distilling Company. Jacob’s Well honors another water source used to make the first Beam whiskey and is made up of a 15-year-old high-rye bourbon and a 16-year-old traditional bourbon.
Hardin’s Creek Jacob’s Well is the culmination of “old whiskeys passing through new hands onto yours.” Future releases of the Jacob’s Well will also showcase the old and rare whiskies from Beam. Even though it is a limited release, the number of bottles available is not mentioned. However, it is one to be on the lookout for just to see the future of the Beam legacy.
Tasting Notes: Hardin’s Creek Jacob’s Well
Vital Stats: 54% ABV. 108 proof. Kentucky straight bourbon made from a blend of a 15-year-old bourbon and 16-year-old bourbon. 750ml $150.
Appearance: Coppery amber
Nose: Grapes with apple and pear slices put pictures of charcuterie boards in my mind. There is an overabundance of bright lemon oil, which is reminiscent of Pledge. The baking spices are well balanced as a middle layer amongst all the fruit. The whiskey gets a bit sharp at the end, so watch your nostrils.
Palate: The baking spice, particularly nutmeg and star anise, maybe subdued fennel, greet the tongue. The whiskey has layers of depth in which warmth builds up. Cocoa nibs and a little coffee bean come through in one layer, however the finish wows with leather and tobacco leaf. Black pepper lingers with oak and dried apple slices for the finale.