There has been a flurry of activity at the Jim Beam distillery this month what with preparing for their first ever global advertising campaign and the release of Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 Year Old Small Batch, their first ever ultra premium spirit.
Lets take a look at the new bourbon first shall we? The 12 year old bourbon is a permanent addition to the Signature Craft line of products and sits alongside the Rare Spanish Brandy expression (sadly not available in the UK!). This small batch production is new territory for Jim Beam and, I believe I’m correct in saying, the oldest bourbon they have ever released.
There has been a great interest in bourbon as of late in the UK, especially the small batch variety; look at the popularity of Four Roses Small Batch for example. This product is providing the same quality, hand crafted spirit as the other small batch products but has the advantage of coming from a trusted brand that we all recognise. This could provide a great entry point into the world of premium bourbon for individuals who, without the familiar branding, may have been too tentative to dip their toe into the water.
That’s not to say that the Signature Craft 12 Year Old Small Batch has no value to those with more experienced palates or broader horizons; this is an excellent whiskey that is robust enough to stand proudly shoulder to shoulder (or neck to neck) with any other small batch bourbon on the market today. Being the highest selling bourbon in the world, it is hard to imagine a small batch process (in the true sense of the phrase at least) happening at the Jim Beam distillery. Don’t forget though that Jim Beam produce Knob Creek and other small batch bourbons at their Kentucky distillery, so don’t be too skeptical!
Across the board, Jim Beam creates a lighter style bourbon when compared to the heavy, overpowering flavours of their peers and the Signature Craft is no exception. The cult status of brands like Pappy Van Winkle and George T Stagg are testament to how popular big, bold bourbons have become. But, and it is a BIG BUT, you don’t always want to drink such high strength spirits and certain occasions (such as everyday drinking) demand a lighter touch. Jim Beams Signature Craft 12 Year Old Small Batch steps into this void and fills it admirably. It is also priced sensibly so you won’t have to sell a kidney to buy one and, more importantly (debatable?), you will actually find this available to purchase!
The dark colour denotes that the liquid has sat in Oak for some considerable time and Oaky notes are definitely present. However, this is beautifully entwined with vanilla first and foremost, but also cinnamon, caramel and marzipan in the longer term. True to form, this is a light bourbon but is still full of flavour and has a moderate amount of heat that isn’t going to wrestle your throat down into your stomach. This is a perfect bourbon for regular drinking so keep your Pappy Van Winkle back for special occasions and save yourself the inconvenience of selling a kidney (it’s probably pickled anyway!).
After the effort that has gone into creating that lovely whiskey, it would be a shame if no one knew about it wouldn’t it? Of course it would, so Jim Beam are launching their first ever global advertising campaign. Rather than head it up with a middle aged distiller talking about whisky, they have (probably sensibly) enlisted super star Mila Kunis to become the brands new spokeswoman and first lady.
The advert, entitled ‘Making History’, will hit UK screens on the 17th of March and will make its way to over a hundred markets in the following months. She also takes the starring role in the advertising campaigns on all of Jim Beams digital platforms.
Kevin George, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Beam Inc said that;
“Mila’s love of Bourbon, her appreciation for the authenticity of our brand, her warm personality and her global relevance to our Make History campaign make her the perfect partner.”
“Oh, and yea, sex sells”. (He didn’t say this, no lawsuits please!)
Ok, so I definitely made up that last line but I think we all know what he meant, Mr. Jim Beam wants to be Whiskey With Benefits!
Check out the videos below to see what all the fuss is about.