In past reviews, we have used the phrase “perilously drinkable” to describe how well a whiskey can taste. If perilous is utilized, rest assured friends, it probably goes down easy, which, if you’re drinking whiskey, can be quite a perilous Friday night. It’s almost proper that most whiskey burns on the way down. It’s like a warning. Slow down. The first time I tried Jim Beam’s Distiller’s Masterpiece, finished in PX casks, the descriptors “perilously drinkable” not only came to mind but I hesitate to use it for any other bourbon I will ever taste. It was that good for me. Three glasses in I had to stop myself, as it was not my bottle, and I wanted to retain the good will of the bottle’s owner. And so my heart did race when I heard we would be reviewing it at our most recent meeting. On to some particulars…
Jim Beam Distiller’s Masterpiece is a throwback to a bottle released by Beam decades ago, curated by the great Booker Noe. Fred Noe, Jim Beam Distillery’s current Master Distiller, is responsible for their current reincarnation of the wine finished bourbon, this time finished in PX Sherry casks. The bourbon itself does not possess an age, all we know is that it is “extra aged,” which could mean anything. At $200 a bottle, let us hope some care was put into the selection of these barrels. The mash bill slash line is 77% corn/13% rye/10% malted barley and comes bottled at 50% ABV. On to it.
Nose- Sherry oak, as you might guess. Musty cellar wood. Vanilla with time. Dates and citrus. Flower petals. Dark chocolate covered raisins. Werthers and floral like. Lilacs.
Taste- Big and thick. Caramel and toffee. Oaky fruit and tobacco. Chocolate, salt, hint of clovey cinnamon. Leathery. Warm spiced cookie.
Finish- Leather chair in a cigar lounge. Nice, slow burn. Tobacco, dark fruit. Medium to long length.
Comment- As good as anything we have had in a long, long while. Very difficult to criticize something like this, as all categories shine. Rich and wonderful. Perilously drinkable, perhaps.
SWC Rating- 93/100