A new brand dedicated to premium bourbons
The James B. Beam Distilling Company announced the launch of Hardin’s Creek. The new branding, according to the company, “will trace the ongoing story of the Beam family legacy, spanning over 227 years, through very limited and rare releases.”
Annual Hardin’s Creek releases will feature some of James B. Beam Distilling Co’s rarest and most unique liquids. The releases are designed to showcase “the breadth and depth of James B. Beam Distilling Co’s credentials in whiskey making material, including age, blend, mash bill, distillation, barrels, rack locations, and more.”
The Hardin’s Creek series will launch with two expressions: Jacob’s Well Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, a blend of two ultra-aged bourbons, and Colonel James B. Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, a carefully crafted young whiskey.
According to Freddie Noe, the new Master Distiller of the Fred B. Noe Distillery:
We couldn’t be more excited to launch Hardin’s Creek, especially after the refresh of the James B. Beam Distillery and the opening of the Fred B. Noe Craft Distillery. It took a long time and I can’t wait to share it with the world. Every detail, from assembly techniques to labels, is inspired by centuries of our family’s history, paying homage to our heritage while looking towards our future.
The Fred B. Noe Distillery, dedicated to seventh-generation Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe and led by Noe’s son, Freddie Noe, “embodies the unrelenting and timeless commitment to honoring, elevating and innovating what American whiskey should and could be”. According to the company:
The new distillery provides space for experimentation and continued exploration of the future category of American whiskey. It will also offer experiential learning through distillation sessions and seminars with Freddie Noe, hands-on activities in the blending lab, and a tasting bar to sample new and upcoming innovations for select members of the trade. In addition, a state-of-the-art classroom for James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits at the University of Kentucky® will be housed at the Fred B. Noe Distillery.
The distillery also produces many of James B. Beam Distilling Co’s well-known and award-winning brands, including Freddie’s famous annual series of Little Book Whiskey blends, Booker’s Bourbon and Baker’s Bourbon.
The Hardin Creek brand is named after a creek in the western foothills of Kentucky where Johannes Jacob Beam, the ancestor of America’s “First Bourbon Family”, first established, in 1795, a mill to grind corn for its mash. This mill was the start of Beam’s bourbon-making legacy.
Below are the tasting notes for both bourbons courtesy of a sample generously provided by the distillery.
Jacob’s Well, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 54% ABV, 750ml, MSRP $149.99
Jacob’s Well pays homage to the first family distiller, Jacob Beam, and the well he built in 1795. It’s a blend of two ultra-aged expressions: a 16-year-old traditional bourbon and a 15-year-old rye-aged bourbon. .
The color is a rich dark amber, with a slightly orange cast. On the nose it is rich and fruity, with a pronounced savory note, accompanied by aromas of well-seasoned oak. There are hints of dried stone fruit, as well as tropical fruit notes of melon and mango, along with vanilla, caramel, cinnamon spice, clove and a little black pepper.
On the palate, the whiskey is soft, with a very slight bitter note. It is thick and fat, with a pronounced weight in the mouth and a viscous quality. It’s very smooth, almost creamy, with well-integrated alcohol and a distinctive woody note. It offers dried fruit flavors of peach and apricot, with a bit of tropical fruit, as well as the expected notes of caramel, vanilla and cinnamon spice.
The finish is long and sweet, with lingering notes of well-seasoned oak and dried fruit.
It is an exceptional whisky. It’s sweet and flavorful and makes a great sip. On ice or with the addition of a little water, it is sweeter and fruitier and even creamier on the palate. At an SRP of $150/bottle, it’s not cheap, although it’s likely to retail for less than that. Still, it’s a good price for a 15YO/16YO bourbon.
Colonel James B. Beam, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 54% ABV, 750ml, MSRP $79.99
According to Master Distiller Freddie Noe, “Colonel James B. Beam is set to change the perception of what a bourbon is and can be.”
The limited-edition two-year-old whiskey achieves a depth of flavor usually reserved for more mature bourbons by removing it from the still at a lower proof of distillation, imparting more flavor from the fermentation process and letting the characteristics of the cask shine through. at a younger age.
It is the same style, according to Freddie Noe, that Colonel James B. Beam adopted when he recommissioned the Clermont distillery after the repeal of Prohibition. The tastier style allowed the Colonel to replenish his stocks of bourbon and have a marketable whiskey in less time than usual.
The color is gold. On the nose, the whiskey has a pronounced salty aroma. The sweet notes of dried fruits are accentuated as the whiskey opens up. There are also pronounced hints of vanilla and caramel and a slight floral potpourri aroma.
On the palate, the whiskey is soft, almost candy. There is a sweet but lingering pepperiness, with dried stone fruit flavors and some tropical fruit and orchard notes. It’s reasonably well balanced, but not as well integrated as its older sibling, and the high proof is more noticeable in this expression.
The finish is long, smooth and sweet, with lingering notes of dried fruits and a peppery persistence in the background.
It’s a good whisky. It’s certainly very drinkable but overall I think Jacob’s Well is better value for money even though the SRP is double that. It would be interesting to see how this whiskey could evolve with two or three more years of aging in barrel. At a price of $80, it’s a little overpriced compared to its 2-year-old contemporaries. At half price it would be exceptional value, although it would need a few more years of maturation.
The Hardin’s Creek Jacob’s Well and Col. James B. Beam are set to hit shelves, bars and restaurants nationwide on July 1, 2022.