Serious Eats: Drinks
More New White Whiskey: Jacob's Ghost from Jim Beam
The white whiskey wars continue! If you were excited by the pending release of the Jack Daniel's unaged Tennessee rye but put off by the steep asking price, then look no further. The latest release from Jim Beam, Jacob's Ghost White Whiskey, is positioning to steal JD's thunder and undercut their price point. And no, it's not just a spooky spirit—this whiskey has real potential to become a mainstay in bars and liquor cabinets across the country.
There are key differences that go beyond price point, however. Jacob's Ghost (named after 18th century Jacob Beam, the patriarch of the Beam clan) is the standard Jim Beam bourbon, made with their typical mash bill and distilling methods. However, instead of heading straight to the bottle like the JD product, Jacob's Ghost gets aged for at least a year in charred oak barrels, before being filtered to remove coloration and take the edge off any remaining harshness. Yet the spirit retains a slight yellow coloration and a bit of an edge, to be sure.
The result is almost exactly what you would expect. It's a very easy-drinking, very young whiskey. Up front, there are loads of sweet corn with a hint of vanilla and just a whisper of wood. On the palate, the corn sweetness continues combined with a surprisingly robust body. There's just a touch of smoke, and some barrel spices on the finish.
It's definitely smoother and less spicy than the Jack Daniel's offering, most likely due to the year of aging and the lower-rye mash bill. I could see many whiskey drinkers enjoying this on the rocks, but the real fun will come when you start experimenting with cocktails, subbing in whiskey for other clear spirits like white rum or blanco tequila. My favorite so far is a whiskey daiquiri, but the possibilities are endless...
Jacob's Ghost will become a permanent addition to the Jim Beam roster when it debuts in February of next year at a suggested retail price of $21.99. If you want to get in on the white whiskey craze, this is definitely the smoothest entry point for your money.
Sample provided for review consideration.
About the author: Andrew Strenio is a lover of all things potable. Since sneaking his grandmother's bourbon balls, he's moved on to touring distilleries and sipping snifters. He works by day making documentary television and films for an independent production company in Brooklyn.