Verdict: Warming, flavorful
It’s hard to drink Jim Beam Black without comparing it to Jim Beam original which is probably what most of us cut our teeth on. Black is aged 8 years whereas white is aged 4 years (thus the “double aged” moniker on the label). Black carries a higher price, but carries more complex flavors and I found it much more drinkable than white.
The bottle reveals a rich, dark amber color with a nice body. The barrels are charred new white oak, but I’m not getting the smokey smell that I was expecting. I do get some a nice vanilla aroma even well after the glass is empty.
After a few pleasant sips neat, I added a few ice cubes which helped it opening up, although it held up fairly well without. I found mild flavors of caramel and orange on the tongue. Probably the most dominant characteristic is that starts strong and stays strong (at only 86 proof). So if you’re into a good long burn, you will think this is great.
Just like the original, I think Jim Beam Black is an excellent value for the money. The bottom line is that black is more palatable without a mixer than white, so its advantage is versatility.