Several years ago, when I first visited The American Stillhouse in Clermont, Kentucky, I saw Old Tub Bottled-in-Bond in the gift shop. It was a bit on the pricy side, at least in my opinion... $20.00 for a 375ml. It was hard to justify because, for the same amount of money, I could get Jim Beam Bottled-in-Bond in a 750ml for the same price. Being the price-conscious shopper I can be at times (that's cheap for folks that prefer to call a spade a spade), I passed.
And, every time I thought about it, I kicked myself. The last time I went to Kentucky, there was no time to go to Clermont, although it was something I wanted to do.
Well, lo and behold, this summer, Jim Beam released Old Tub outside of Kentucky, and they did it for the same price, but this time in a 750ml bottle.
I've been impressed with Beam's limited-edition Bourbons. Distiller's Cut was tasty, affordable, and I grabbed a few bottles. Repeal Batch was lighter but interesting in its own right. As such, when I saw Old Tub on the shelf, I grabbed the one bottle they had.
Old Tub was the original name of Jim Beam Bourbon, and Old Tub Bottled-in-Bond is allegedly the original recipe back from 1880 for what is now Jim Beam White Label: 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. For the record, James B. Beam changed the name from Old Tub to Jim Beam back in 1943.
Being Bottled-in-Bond, while the Bourbon carries no age statement, it is at least four years old, is bottled at 100°, and came from a single distilling season. Old Tub spent its time in #4 charred oak barrels. It is not only non-chill filtered, but it is unfiltered, basically, the only thing that's happened is Jim Beam sent the aged whiskey through a screen to catch chunks of wood and char.
The question becomes, did I kick myself all these years for no reason, or did I do good by grabbing the lone bottle I saw? The answer will be found on my palate, and the way to do that is to #DrinkCurious.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, Old Tub was a hazy orange amber. It created a thick rim on the wall, that rim generated medium-thick, fast legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine.
Nose: The first thing I smelled was sweet corn. It took a bit to get past that, and when I did, aromas of vanilla, caramel, orange peel, brown sugar, and banana appeared. I was, frankly, shocked the nose was going to be that complicated, as I've never found that on Beam White Label or the other inexpensive, limited-release Bourbons. When I breathed the vapor in my mouth, I tasted musty hay and corn.
Palate: The mouthfeel was unexpectedly heavy and very, very oily. Despite being 100°, I didn't feel any heat or ethanol blast. Flavors of corn, vanilla, and honey-roasted peanuts were at the front of the palate. Considering this is Jim Beam distillate, I would have been disappointed if peanuts were absent. At mid-palate, things got complicated with tobacco leaf, berries, and orange peel. Those morphed on the back to oak, clove, and cinnamon.
Finish: Initially, the finish was short. But, additional sips proved it was medium-long in length. The oak from the back became smoky, the cinnamon from the back took on a cinnamon apple quality, and then toffee came out of nowhere.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This is a $21.00 Bourbon that can compete with more expensive options. It is full of flavor, much more than you'd ever assumed, and it goes down oh-so-easy. I'm really hoping this limited edition isn't too limited, because I loved it, and not only is this a Bottle rating but an opportunity to #RespectTheBottomShelf. If you see this, get it. No excuses, no hemming-and-hawing. Trust me, just grab it. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It