Marketed as the super premium “Top Shelf” Bourbon in the Jim Beam range of Bourbons. No don’t worry the Small Batch series isn’t discontinued, just they are seen as Bourbons for aficionado’s and less for the “people”. Second the Signature Craft’s will bear the Jim Beam name as opposed to the Whiskies released in the Small Batch series. Bearing the Beam name is also the reason this Signature Craft Bourbon doesn’t break the bank. It’s an easy access brand. For those who don’t know The Small Batch series, it comprises of: Bookers, Baker’s, Basil Haydens (Old Grand Dad recipe and yeast strain) and Knob Creek.
Color: Copper gold.
Nose: A lot of honey and the typical Jim Beam yeast strain. Wow, really very honeyed. It’s hard to get past that. This needs to breathe for a while. Quite mellow for a 12yo Bourbon that has spent all of its life in new wood. The wood starts to work here, and adds vanilla and a teensie bit of spiciness to the whole. Honey still, but becoming more dry. Hints of a Cognac-like fruitiness. Hints of dry powder and old leather. More hints can be found, but in the end it’s all creamy vanilla with loads of honey.
Taste: less sweet than expected. More (new) wood influence here and quite warming. Runny caramel with hints of burnt sugar. Added character by the honeyed, woody bitterness in the finish. Toffee. Also a hint of menthol seems to be here, chilling my lips. The finish itself isn’t very long, and that’s quite surprising for such an old Bourbon. Well balanced though.
Somewhat sweeter than the Four Roses Single Barrel and Buffalo Trace. Super Premium, well maybe. I have to say that this is a well-balanced and very easily drinkable Bourbon. Sometimes surprising to be 12yo, since the wood isn’t always there overpowering the whole by it prolonged maturation. Although not super premium by my book, I do still like it. It stands shoulder to shoulder with both Bourbons mentioned above. By the way The Signature Craft series do remind me a lot of Four Roses. The look and feel, not the taste that is…