...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Jim Beam 8 year old Bonded Bourbon, 1795 Cannon Decanter (1961-1970)

Yesterday I reviewed a 100 Month old Jim Beam bottled in a AC Delco Sparkplug decanter in 1977 (and also included a two-paragraph intro on these ceramic whiskey decanters).  It started out being a decent bourbon with a good nose, but almost immediately oxidized in the glass, eventually becoming a watery version of the current Jim Beam White Label.  As I mentioned at the end of that post, most or all of the 40-43%abv dusty bourbons I've owned have oxidized very quickly, whether in the bottle or in the glass.

While I was on the East Coast in early December 2014, I met up with The Coopered Tot for an evening.  And as is his habit, he generously treated me to a flock of excellent OLDE whiskies.  He sent me home with a number of samples as well (thank you, Coop!).  One of these samples came from this:
I know that yesterday's post had said that this was also a 100 Month bourbon, but it appears as if I was wrong.  It lists itself as being 8 years old, as opposed to 8 years and 4 months.  Oh, the failure!  (But I was right when I wrote that it was 100 proof.)  The tax stamp noted that this was held in a bonded warehouse (back when Beam still did this sort of thing) from Spring 1961 to Fall 1970.

"But wait!" says you, observant reader, "That means this whisky is actually more than nine years old [your italics]. It could even be as much as nine years nine months old."  Yes, you are right.  The whiskey in the bottle has to be at least as old as the label says, but may very well be older.

How about a review?
Owner: Beam, Inc. at time of bottling, but now owned by Suntory
Brand: Old Taylor
Distillery: Jim Beam Distillery
Distiller: Booker Noe (I think)
Location: Clermont, Kentucky
Mash Bill: ???
ABV: 50% ABV
Label's age statement: 8 years
Actual age: Over 9 years (Spring 1961 - Fall 1970)

It has a dark cherrywood color, very similar to the Sparkplug decanter bourbon.  The nose leads with a brick of brown sugar and caramel sauce.  Digging deeper...  orange peel, peach candy, Nestle Crunch, and pipe tobacco.  It does have some quirkier notes of furniture polish and cat fur just to keep things interesting.  It gets fudgier with time.  Then maybe some white fruits come along.  Also something reminiscent of young Armagnac.  The palate starts with black cherry ice cream, cadbury creme eggs, lychee candy, and earthy molasses.  It's a real sweetie with a spicy nip.  It picks up more rye character with time; think pepper, cloves, and bitters.  Then honey, mint, and maybe a mothball.  It finishes sweetly too.  Corn syrup, caramel, and honey.  After some time, a green herbalness develops, and some tart citrus hits the back of the throat.

Unlike yesterday's Beam, this one started strong and never let go.  And I wonder if the extra alcohol helped preserve it better both in the decanter and in the glass.  To me this sits above everything else that Beam offers right now.  It easily tops the Knob Creeks and Bookerses I've had, and would make a good sparring partner with Baker's (which I've always liked).  It's not the world's greatest bourbon, but it's solid through and through.  If Beam could reproduce this, I would buy it.

Also, my system has shown no signs of lead poisoning.  Yet.

Availability - Collectors or antique sellers whom haven't dumped the booze
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87


  1. What exactly does "cat fur" smell like anyway?

    1. This would call for an interesting intellectual exercise, like explaining what a orange smells like without using other citrus fruits in the description, but I've been devoid of that level of intellect recently. So here goes...

      There's a wide range of cat fur smells, extending from clean healthy cat to a gang of feral cats in heat. The former doesn't smell like much at all, it just smells very clean and fresh. I don't know how cats do that. The latter is made up of follicle oils, piss, crap, and pheromones; it's very intense; one can almost feel the scent in the air. The fur I'm talking about is somewhere in between, closer to the former though likely driven by the follicle oils. Think about the natural skin oils from dogs, horses, hamsters, and the human scalp. The cat fur I'm thinking of is less aggressive than those but a little more odorous than a fur coat.

      I don't know if any of that helps. The best thing I can suggest is pick up a cat and smell it (but not the butt).

  2. Glad to see you are still unleaded...

    1. Thanks! Hopefully Tiffiny hasn't poisoned you either!

  3. To Michael Kravitz, I have a very old collection of antique bottles of various liqueurs never opened and was wondering how do I go about finding out how to sell them and for how much. they were my uncles fathers collection handed down. I have a 1795 Bonded Beam Cannon Whiskey bottle that has never been opened and the whiskey is still in it. Other bottles are race cars, soliders, cannons, betsy ross, etc. please help. terlutz@hotmail.com

    1. Hi Lynn! Some thoughts on this:

      There are a bunch of Beam Decanter groups/websites online who would know more about your collection. It's like a whole whiskey "scene". I'd recommend starting at http://www.jimbeamclub.com/ then Googling around.

      If you live in the US like I do, we as individuals are very limited in our ability to sell bottles of whiskey. "Limited" as in, we can't do it legally. So I can't really provide much advice there. You can check with the good chaps at http://www.lawhiskeysociety.com/pages/information-rare-old-whiskey-value perhaps?

      Meanwhile, I've seen empty decanters at many many antique shops, so there are definitely people buying, selling, and collecting those. Sorry, I can't be of more help but my knowledge in this corner of the whiskey collectible world is limited. Thanks!

  4. How do you know how much and where to sell old bottles of liquars. I have a Bonded Bean 1795 cannon whiskey bottle never opened - sealed. terlutz@hotmail.com

  5. The cannon decanters are glass with a "foil like" covering. They are NOT LEADED. Thank goodness, considering this is the best Whiskey Jim beam ever bottled. I've got two, one of which is unopened.

  6. Can't edit the comment because it's not approved yet but you can clearly see the "decanters" are actually glass; you can even chip the coating off.

  7. I have sealed bottle, what is that worth?

  8. Have full bottle of diving for pearls,who wants to buy it?