Remember the 80s?
While we were all wearing leg warmers, jazzercising and listening to Flock of Seagulls, Parker Beam was smart enough to put bourbon into oak casks and let it age gracefully, unaffected by Y2K. If you've heard the name Beam associated with bourbon before, that's no coincidence; James Beauregard Beam, better known as Jim Beam, was his grandfather's brother. This sixth-generation Master Distiller who oversees the popular Evan Williams and Elijah Craig brands hand-selected bourbons from his vast 700,000-barrel inventory to undergo a lengthy oak aging process.
From that vast inventory, Beam hand-selected the first of this collection, which was bottled in 2007 after aging in oak barrels since 1996, and quickly sold out. We were lucky enough to enjoy the second of the series, which was aged in oak since 1981, the first year of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. At 96 proof, the super-premium Bourbon did not seem to mellow with age, and we were initially put off by its strength (although we have enjoyed 100+ proof Bourbons neat). At first, we enjoyed its vanilla, toffee, and apricot flavor only when mixed, which seemed to be a waste of good whiskey. But before we knew it, we were relishing its deep complexity neat and on the rocks. Despite the lengthy barrel aging, the wood does not overwhelm the balanced beverage. If you can find and afford a bottle, this whiskey will make a fine addition to any home bar.