Eagle Rare seems to have changed hands a few times in its history. Starting off in the ’70s as a Seagram brand, the bourbon is now in the hands of Buffalo Trace Distillery – and that’s a good thing considering they produce some of my favorites like W.L. Weller and Buffalo Trace. By all accounts this seems to be a classic bourbon aiming for a classy slot on the shelf yet comes in cheaper than I’d expected.
- Buffalo Trace Distillery
- 90 proof
The first descriptor that comes to mind for the Eagle Rare line’s packaging is ‘boring’. From the neat outlines of the bottle and labeling to the etched image of the eponymous bird, this bourbon does not excite much interest. It has something of the air of a scotch, but with just enough jingoistic hints to make it a disappointment. The text on the rear label doesn’t help much – it compares the liquor to both the Declaration of Independence and “a fine port wine”. Come now Eagle Rare, stand on your own legs. The best thing I have to say about the packaging is that they chose a nice foil with which to cover the cork – I do appreciate a good foil.
Let’s see what this distilled patriot of ours does in the glass.
ERSB smells immediately like almonds and leafy vegetation, but there’s a little must in there too. It’s a sweet scent over all and definitely not overpowering. All in all it has a pleasant nose and very smooth.
It’s a very different beast on the tongue however. All bright citrus and oak with a sunny disposition that lasts for a decent amount of time. That is a little strange now that I think about it, the finish is not so much spice or oak, but lemon-drop.
If anything, I would say that this is a summer time bourbon. I could drink it alongside a lemonade. Despite the disappointing packaging, the bourbon inside is pretty decent and seems priced about right in the $25 area. I do want to mix a cocktail with it rather than sip it though; might be best suited for an Old Fashioned.
It looks like I’m about a year late on this one particular bottle. Announced and released around this time last year, Jim Beam’s Distillers Series was supposedly available only through January 2009, but I managed to pick up a bottle at Astor place just last week. I was intrigued by the friendly price point right around $20 and since I’ve enjoyed most other Beam releases I’ve tried – Jim Beam Black being one of the better bangs for your buck. Then again, maybe there’s a reason this “limited” release is still on shelves a year after it hit them.
- Jim Beam Distilling Co.
- 90 proof
JB Distillers Series comes in the classic Beam bottle, but has done away with the classic paper label. Along the sides are six of the past distillers for Jim Beam: from Jacob Beam on the top left to Booker Noe at the bottom right. Right up front is the current distiller Fred Noe. Beside each miniature portrait is a brief, nostalgia laced biography.
Other than these portraits and biographies, there isn’t much. No description of the whiskey beyond the age. No old-timey flourishes. Nothing much but the clear glass bottle. One hopes that this is because they believe the contents need no introduction beyond sight, but really it seems they’re so singularly focused on their genealogy that they may have lost sight of what these men were actually making.
This is definitely a Jim Beam on the nose, but in a richer, sweeter way. I’m getting sap and honey in there with some dry oak.
On the tongue, this is much smoother than I’d expected and than most other Beam releases. There’s definitely that dry oak flavor to it and a sweet, warm finish. Up front there’s also a bit of hay or dry grass. I do get the sense that this is a little thin for all its smoothness, however.
This is not something that is particularly interesting or exciting, but it is quite good for its simplicity and smoothness. The best way to describe Jim Beam Distillers Series would be ‘austere’. The ultimate test for whether I like something is if I pour myself a second tasting as I finish the review, and this one certainly passes.