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Jim Beam reimagines its Black label

Jim Beam Black is returning to shelves with a new age statement, higher proof, and updated packaging.

The re-released Jim Beam Black is bottled at seven years and 45% ABV

Jim Beam master distillers Fred and Freddie Noe are reintroducing Black, a whiskey that has evolved through the years, and is now receiving a more modern refresh. For thrifty drinkers, Black has been a bridge from Beam’s core white label expression to its more limited offerings.

In 2014, Beam dropped the whiskey’s eight-year age statement and lowered the ABV from 45% to 43%. In its newest iteration, the proof is back to 45% while the age statement reads seven years.

“I was around for the original 101 month, 90 proof. It was one of my favourite products that I used to lift out of my dad’s liquor cabinet,” Fred Noe said of his father, sixth-generation master distiller Booker Noe. “To be able to go back and taste some of these old samples, and remember what it was, what you liked about it, and then to look at what we could do to get the best reiteration of Jim Beam Black.”

Freddie calls working on Black an opportunity to revisit Beam’s storied history and evokes a founding principle that he first encountered as a marketing intern, a message from Jim Beam himself to make the best whiskey possible at a moderate price.

“That was his vision for our family’s whiskey. When we’re working on Jim Beam that is what we always must take into consideration is that it’s the highest quality of products based on how we make it,” he said. “Let’s deliver the best version of Jim Beam at an upper age expression that delivers more barrel character.”

Together, the Noes craft a broad portfolio of whiskies, and Freddie points to Baker’s as a point of comparison as it is also bottled at seven years. He notes that they have a series of levers such as distillation proof, barreling proof, bottling proof, and barreling location that make the whiskies different, and that when working on Jim Beam products specifically, he searches for that balance of value and quality.

Jim Beam Black is priced at US$25 and will be available in formats ranging from from 50ml to 1.75L. The whiskey shows notes of caramel, vanilla, and rich oak and comes with updated packaging meant to convey its maturity. The new iteration of Black aims to offer versatility and affordability.

“There’s people who give 25 bucks for a one drink, you get a whole bottle of a high quality Bourbon,” Fred said. “You can drink this every day.”

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