The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2015

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Page 48 of 140

48  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2015 LINE EXTENSIONS Adam Harris, Bour-Bon Vivant and American Whiskey Ambassador for Jim Beam Brands Co. J im Beam has been around for over two centuries, but the company is drawing on a particular interesting piece of history for one of its new expressions, Jim Beam Bonded. As part of the U.S. launch of Jim Beam Bonded, Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye and Jim Beam Distiller's Masterpiece, we joined some of Los Angeles's spirit industry influencers at Hollywood's not-so-secret speakeasy Dirty Laundry to learn some history and try the new products. Adam Harris, Jim Beam's American Whiskey Ambassador, gave us some background on the history of bonded bourbon: "In the 1800s, bourbon wasn't government-regulated, and could be cut with wood-grain, or other harmful additives. This led to the Bottled-in- Bond Act of 1897, which created standards by which all distilled spirits had to be aged and bottled. It became known as the 'good stuff'." Jim Beam decided to bring this product back, still adhering to the long-ago govern- ment-mandated rules of bonded bourbon: Product of one distillation season, from one distillery? Check. Aged for at least four years? Check. Bottled at least 100 proof? Check. The benefits of bonding include less dilution and fuller flavor. Keeping with the Turn of the Century theme, the company has also released Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye. At a higher proof than their standard rye (90 proof as compared to 80 proof), the distillery utilizes the same recipe that was used in the 1800s. So why bring rye back after more than a hundred years? "In the past couple of years, whiskey has seen a surge in popularity," Harris explained. "Bartenders are returning to classic drinks made with barrel-aged spirits like whiskey, while creating new cocktails that evoke American spirits pre-Prohibition, and we thought Jim Beam Rye would fit in perfectly with that mindset. Bonded Bourbon and Rye aren't the only products that Jim Beam is introducing to the public based on a historical recipe. We were also lucky enough to try some of the luxuri- ous Jim Beam Distillery Masterpiece, the premium bourbon that, according to Harris, "has previously only been available at the distillery as an 'Easter egg' for dedicated fans of Jim Beam. However, it was getting so popular, we decided to start producing it for both on- and off-premise accounts." Aged for ten years, the bourbon is finished for three months in Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks, and bottled at 100 proof. Priced at $199.99, Harris admits, "This is a spirit for specialty shops. You probably won't be seeing it in your grocery store liquor aisle." Bourbon Revival JIM BEAM REVISITS HISTORY WITH THREE WHISKIES by Jesse Hom-Dawson / photos by Adam James

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