Few names in bourbon are as synonymous with whiskey-making tradition as Jim Beam. Originally founded in 1795 as Old Jake Sour Mash and now overseen by the eighth-generation master distiller of the Beam family lineage, the Kentucky giant has done something interesting with its latest release.
Current master distiller Freddie Noe has been known for his penchant for experimentation while still maintaining the essence of bourbon whiskey. His own Little Book label finds uniqueness in its own blending of age statements, mashbills, and wood finishes. However, this latest release under the James B. Beam Distilling Co. nameplate makes an alteration at the mashbill level.
Many whiskey drinkers know that a bourbon mashbill must be comprised of at least 51% corn, with the remaining 49% typically having an elective combination of rye, wheat, and/or malted barley. For the first release in the new Distillers’ Share, Beam is debuting the Toasted Brown Rice Bourbon, where it swaps out the mashbill’s rye for brown rice, which, according to Noe brings out palate notes such as baked bread, toffee, and oak. The 5-year-old bourbon was given a secondary maturation in toasted oak barrels and bottled at 102 proof.
Noe has played around with brown rice in the past, with a Beam release in 2015 and Little Book Chapter 4 from 2020, which combines brown rice bourbon with other mashbill blends. While Distillers’ Share 01: Toasted Brown Rice Bourbon is only available on-site at the distillery and to members of Beam’s Barreled & Boxed program, look for the 375mL bottles to pop up in the secondary market soon.