Monday, January 27, 2014

IT'S A SPIRIT, GET IT?! A whiskey review of Jacob's Ghost

The first thing one notices about Jim Beam’s new whiskey, Jacob’s Ghost, is its clarity. Unlike other whiskies, this one is clear, like vodka. It’s a hard idea to get into one’s head, but it’s certainly unusual. Next, it has a remarkable looking label. “Ghost” is the biggest word on the label, and just under it is a giant depiction of Jacob Beam, the first face you’ll see on the side of a regular bottle of Beam. Look very closely, and you’ll notice his eyes move. No, you don’t need to be drunk to see it.

As with their other specialties, this one has a story on the label as well. It reads, “Jacob’s Ghost celebrates the ‘spirit’ of Jim Beam’s founding distiller, Jacob Beam—by refining the clear whiskey he first distilled in 1795. Jacob’s Ghost is clear, but it isn’t Moonshine or un-aged White Dog. It’s a special whiskey, aged at least one year in white oak barrels and crafted by our master distillers with over 200 years of Beam tradition to be uniquely versatile and flavorful.” Very cool.

However, upon opening the bottle, suspicion immediately sets in. It smells exactly like the phony moonshine that is so popular right now. Tasting it does not dispel this suspicion. It’s just a little bit smoother, despite a more pronounced after-burn. This is probably because the Ghost is aged an entire year instead of just a month.

At least Beam didn’t decide to jump on the awful phony moonshine bandwagon. They won’t sully their reputation by doing that. They just call it white whiskey, and they should be applauded for their lack of pretension. It’s a shame that it’s just not that great a whiskey. If you’re looking for something better than the regular Beam, go with the Devil’s Cut or the black label.

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