Father John Rayls
I need to be forthright here. After the “C” rating from our website (Whiskey Reviewer.com), it was enough for me to initially dismiss this relatively new offering from Beam Suntory. However, the idea of double oak has always intrigued me. Jim Beam Double Oak Twice Barreled Bourbon is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey which automatically makes it worthy of a second chance. When you factor in the price (more about that later), it’s almost guaranteed to be a winner. Many serious bourbon drinkers dismiss the gimmicky offerings of the Jim Beam line. You shouldn’t make the mistake of lumping the Double Oak in with Red Stag, Honey, Apple, Maple, etc. This is a legitimate offering and a serious upgrade from the Jim Beam White Label. I seriously considered giving it a B+. It was close. Please notice this isn’t a double wood. It’s double oak. Beam has taken a 4 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon and dumped it back into new charred oak barrels. All the barrels filled are new white oak and charred. (Jim Beam prefers an alligator char) Unfortunately, the second aging process is a closely held secret. At this point, this bourbon is simply a 4+ year old that’s bottled as an NAS (no age statement). Apparently, the second aging is released when it has achieved the desired flavor profile. It’s bottled at 86 proof.
The bottle is typical Jim Beam with a beautiful flat black, gold and red label. The screw top lid might also give you another clue to it’s suggested pricing. The color in the bottle is very dark, but copper with brass highlights in my Glencairn Whiskey Glass. The legs are surprisingly prolific and immediate, but somewhat thin. The nose is present, but subtle. Oak is there, but it’s not overpowering. Underneath, there are light aromas of caramel and vanilla with some very light roasted sweet corn.
The mashbill is 77% corn, 13% rye and 10% malted barley. The mouthfeel is slightly creamy with a light to medium body. The flavor profile on the palate is light. There’s some light oak and some light sweetness with caramel. However, it’s a very, very light presence. It’s the finish that makes a significant statement. The palate is experienced at the back of the tongue, but the finish moves to the entire back of the mouth. The Double Oak drinks slightly hot neat. It’s filled with peppery spice that makes for a long finish. The finish really makes this bourbon experience and lifts it to a solid B or B+. You just can’t rush it.
Jim Beam Double Oak Twice Barreled Bourbon is worthy of your time and hard earned money. You will find it at multiple retail outlets in the neighborhood of 20 bucks. You read that correctly: 20 bucks! I had to order it, but it is readily available. The Double Oak makes an otherwise average bourbon suddenly interesting. Don’t hesitate to give this one a try. At $20.00, this is a sure fire winner for most palates.