Following up on the other flavored whiskeys like Honey, Kentucky Fire, Maple, and Red Stag, Jim Beam is back with another new release, Jim Beam Apple Bourbon. While it will not have the universal appeal of their signature straight bourbon, this flavored whiskey, released in August 2015, is likely to have its own dedicated fans.
An Overpowering Apple Aroma
Technically not a bourbon, but an apple liqueur with a bourbon base, Jim Beam Apple Bourbon has the very sweet taste of green apples.
The level of sweetness is definitely reminiscent of liqueur and this is notably one of the sweeter flavored whiskeys the brand has produced.
The fragrance is the most notable trademark of Jim Beam Apple. While Red Stag and Kentucky Fire both emit a strong aroma, the scent that escapes the Apple bottle when it is first cracked is unforgettable. Don't even think that you can sneak a sip of this whiskey because the entire building will know what you are up to.
The apple flavor is far too strong to really enjoy the bourbon because it is simply overwhelming. It's as if a Jolly Rancher factory dedicated to producing only the green apple candies exploded in the room even though the bottle was opened twenty feet away.
The Bourbon Base Saves the Day
In all fairness, once you get beyond the smell, you can get a fair taste of the whiskey, which is quite enjoyable, especially when compared to other sweetened apple spirits.
While the likes of Apple Pucker are not personal favorites, it's not difficult to see how drinkers who do like those are really going to enjoy Jim Beam Apple.
The bourbon base is a much-needed improvement on the majority of apple liqueurs. It gives a depth to the flavor and a dark oak undertone that offsets the sweet, green apples, making it more drinkable, less sour, and better balanced.
Ways to Enjoy Jim Beam Apple
This is a flavored whiskey that needs to be mixed. Sure, you could shoot it and have a lot of fun, but if you want a good, lasting drink, it's best to add other ingredients.
The price is competitive and you shouldn't hesitate to use Jim Beam Apple in any mixed drink that calls for apple schnapps or liqueur. In fact, this may be a significant improvement over many of the other options available.
It will not give you the green color, but it does work well in an Appletini Big Apple Manhattan recipe. It could also be paired with a Canadian whiskey as the schnapps substitute of the always popular Washington Apple in either cocktail or shooter form. You may even consider it as a replacement for the vodka in (what else?) the Jolly Rancher.
One of the recommended drinks, the Jim Beam Apple and Soda (as simple as a shot of the whiskey topped with club soda on the rocks) is good. Try adding tonic -- the dry soda offsets the sweet liqueur quite nicely.
Yet another option is to use Jim Beam Apple as the apple whiskey in the handful of cocktails that feature the ingredient. Many of these like the Full House and Jersey Flashlight are classic drinks and will require some adapting to find the balance because they were not intended for sweet whiskey liqueur.
There is potential, though.
Bottom line -- if you are an apple fan, give Jim Beam Apple a chance because odds are good you may be pleasantly surprised by the flavor.
Facts About Jim Beam Apple Bourbon
- Apple-flavored liqueur with a base of Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
- Produced by James B. Beam Distilling Co. of Clermont, Kentucky
- Released in August 2015.
- 35% alcohol/volume (70 proof)
- Retails for around $16 for a 750ml bottle.
- Visit their website
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.