Review – Jim Beam Honey
Owners of spirit brands naturally want as many people as possible to drink their product as possible. Advertising and marketing of course play an important role, but sometimes a spot of innovation is required to reach new audiences. Whiskey enthusiasts are therefore clearly not the target audience for the latest offering from Jim Beam, but instead consumers who would normally shun bourbon for something perhaps more quaffable.
Jim Beam honey is made by infusing four year old Jim Beam bourbon with honey, interestingly omitting the inclusion of tea which is found in the US market. The US market also markets the honey-tea version under the Red Stag brand, joining the cherry flavour that I reviewed here.
Nose: This certainly smells sweeter than regular Jim Beam, but a blind nosing does not pick out any distinctively honeyed notes over what would be expected in a bourbon. A touch of cherry, with buttery oak fight to get past a relatively ‘hot’ alcohol nose.
Neat: Despite being very sweet initially, as with the nose this is regular sugar sweetness in nature rather than obviously honey. The sweet entry gives rise to a peppery mid-palate and unfortunately a pretty flat finish with a touch of burn.
Mixing: Clearly this is not a product to considered in the great classic cocktails, and it would be unfair to judge it as such. However, sweetened bourbon is just a few dashes of bitters and a few cubes of ice away from becoming an old fashioned so it seems like a decent place to start. The sweetness of this whisky is such that no other sweetening is required, but actually this makes for a passable drink as long as a decent amount of bitters are used. Tested in a range of signature cocktails, it works surprisingly well, but probably no better than Jim Beam with some sugar syrup would do. The signature Honey Buck was the most successful, and it certainly impresses most in longer, easy drinking libations. Shorter, and stronger cocktails highlight some of the shallow depth of flavour so I would be sticking to summertime refreshers for crowd-pleasing action. Frankly though, the absence of any distinctive honey flavour is a real disappointment.
Signature Cocktail – Beam Honey Buck
25ml Jim Beam Honey, 1 wedge lime, 50ml pressed apple juice, ginger ale
Add Jim Beam to highball glass filled with ice, squeeze over lime wedge, add apple juice and top with ginger ale. Stir well.
Jim Beam Honey lacks the honeyed flavour that would have made it an interesting and unique product. As it is, it offers nothing that Jim Beam white label with the addition of sugar syrup couldn’t provide, and for a few quid per bottle less.
Jim Beam is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.