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August 6, 2017

Review: Jim Beam Vanilla

by Jeff Ellingson

Jim Beam Vanilla was just released.  It joins a flavored whiskey lineup that includes an Apple, Honey, Black Cherry, Maple and their Cinnamon Flavored Kentucky Fire Whiskey.  The bourbon base of Jim Beam Vanilla is made with a secret mix of corn, rye, and barley malt.  Limestone filtered water and some “set back” up to 40% of the old mash from the previous distillation, is added to the 10,000 gallon cooker.  Since Prohibition ended over 75 years ago the same strain of jug yeast is added.  This yeast is used in the fermentation process once the mash is cooked and cooled.  It is distilled in a 65 foot tall column still, and then distilled a second time in a doubler, similar to a pot still.  The bourbon is aged in brand new charred oak barrels.  While no age statement is provided for Jim Beam Vanilla, Jim Beam Original is aged for 4 years.  Madagascar Vanilla Liqueur is blended with the bourbon base before bottling at 70 proof.It pours to a golden caramel color.  The aroma is vanilla bean, caramel, cinnamon, and oak.  The sweet entry has creamy natural vanilla bean flavor.  Caramel arrives, and is joined by oak at the midpoint.  It fades with cinnamon, and finishes with warm cinnamon vanilla bean taste, and a mild sting that vanishes before I finish my first glass.  While sweet, I find the sweetness natural and vanilla driven.  Unlike flavored vodka’s where I’m looking for the flavor to take the lead, Jim Beam Vanilla does a nice job of making the Jim Beam Bourbon base an equal co-star in this well crafted blend of bourbon and Madagascar Vanilla liqueur.

Jim Beam Vanilla Coffee Cream

2 Parts Jim Beam Vanilla

1 Part Irish Cream

2 Parts Cold Press Coffee

1/2 Part Simple Syrup

Shake With Ice and Strain Into an Ice Filled Tall Glass

Made in Kentucky

35% Alcohol

Score: 92

Award: Gold Medal

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