I recently compared Jack Daniels to Johnnie Walker Black Label, and discovered that I don’t like the taste of scotch.
Reviews of Jim Beam Black Label have been mixed. Some people have said that it’s a best value in bourbon—an eight-year-old bourbon for the price of cheap bourbon—but others said they don’t like it. I’m going to put myself into the camp of people who prefer Jack Daniels.
Jim Beam Black Label is relatively inexpensive. It was only $27 at the corner liquor store, half the price of Johnnie Walker Black Label. If you live in some state like Arizona where you can buy liquor at the supermarket, it’s probably a lot cheaper, but this is Manhattan.
Jim Beam Black Label comes in a square-shaped bottle with a—you guessed it—a black label. The label says that it’s “the world’s finest bourbon.” In contract law, this is known as “puffing.” James B. Beam’s signature is at the bottom of the label. Obviously it’s a printed signature and not a real signature. Colonel Beam died in 1947. Although the label tries to give the impression that it’s a family-run business, Jim Beam is actually owned by a huge corporation that’s traded on the New York Stock Exchange (Fortune Brands, NYSE: FO).
Jim Beam Black Label is bottled at 86 proof, the same as the old Jack Daniels. New Jack Daniels is bottled at 80 proof. I don’t see the reason why people ooh and ah over higher proofed whiskeys. Am I a girly man because I think 86 proof is just slightly too much alcohol to drink neat?
I was very surprised to discover that Jim Beam Black Label and Jack Daniels taste quite different. I thought they’d pretty much taste the same, considering that they are both distilled fermented corn mash aged in oak barrels.
Maybe the Jim Beam Black Label has a higher rye content? I’ve never tasted rye whiskey (there’s another thing to put on my liquor to-do list), so I don’t know if this is the case. Maybe Jim Beam Black just tastes more woody because it has been in the barrel longer—yet the Johnnie Walker Black Label has been aged 12 years but doesn’t have any of these Jim Beam Black Label flavors.
I prefer Jack Daniels because it’s the mellower and smoother whisky. It doesn’t taste as alcoholic, even though the proof is the same, and it has more of a maple flavor to it—maybe that’s from the special Virginia maple charcoal filtering process? Jim Beam has more of a fruity flavor to it, as if someone mixed some brandy in with it. The problem is that I don’t like brandy very much and I don’t want my whiskey to taste like a brandy. It has a hint of anisette flavor, and I hate anisette.
I’m going to give the Jim Beam Black Label a chance to grow on me. If it doesn’t, I’m going to go back to drinking Jack Daniels. There’s a reason why Jack Daniels is such a popular brand of liquor. If you think it’s overpriced cheap whiskey, then you don’t know jack.
After drinking Jim Beam Black label every day for a week or two, I acquired a taste for it.