May 19, 2009

Jim Beam Red Stag Black Cherry Bourbon Review

red_stag_jim_beam_glasses.jpgWe got our bottle of Jim Beam's soon-to-be-released black cherry flavored bourbon, Red Stag, a couple weeks ago and now it's time to review it. We mentioned this before - we were hesitant to even try it at first, because full disclosure requires us to say right up front we're Jim Beam White Label men from way back, and we were a bit concerned about a syrupy Nyquil nightmare that would forever tarnish our sweet, sweet nectar.

So how did we fare? Surprisingly well, we must say

Jim Beam Red Stag
Black Cherry-Infused Bourbon Whiskey
Typical Price: About $18 for 750ML
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Red Stag on Facebook

The Look:
Red Stag comes in the same-shaped bottle as Jim Beam's white label offering, with a label that evokes that classic bottle, while also sporting big red antlers. We're good with that.

The Nose:
This stuff surprised us right from the get go, with the cherry flavor coming to the front much more than we thought possible. That's not to say the bourbon scent is missing, but it's more subtle and lingers in the background, like that good friend you can always depend on. We should also say the scent of cherry is more natural than we had any right to expect - one intern said it smelled like a bushel of cherries soaked in bourbon.

The Taste:
A tad sweeter than we expected, but in a good way, and still offering that good old whiskey tang. Lots of cherries, a hint of dark berries, and a finish that was more dry than we would have dared to hope. We've never had much truck with flavored bourbons, but this is something we could (and have) drink straight, or on the rocks with a twist of orange peel, or happily mix in cocktails like manhattans and whiskey sours.

The Verdict: Don't tell the folks at Beam this, but we'd happily pay more than $18 for a bottle of Red Stag. It was great mixed with cola on days when we had a sweeter tooth, it gave an Old Fashioned vibe when we drank it on the rocks with an orange peel, and really shined in a Manhattan. While we think this liquor would be a welcome addition to the cabinet of anyone looking to make interesting and complex drinks, we found we liked it best when we drank it in a simpler fashion, with only ice and single mixer.

We hesitate to call this a "training wheels" bourbon, but we do think the sweeter flavor will open up the world of bourbon to a whole different class of drinker - those who don't think they could ever like whiskey. Take that for better or for worse, but at least it will encourage bars to carry the stuff. The Liquor Wife will not generally touch bourbon with a ten foot pole, but we mixed up a shot into lemonade and she was a convert, suddenly eyeing the other whiskey bottles in our cabinet.

We recommend you pick up a bottle, make a pitcher of Red Stag and homemade lemonade (we call 'em Wife Pleasers in these parts) and sip it while you're grilling with friends and family this summer. We think it's safe to say you won't be disappointed, and if you are - send us whatever's left in your bottle.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at May 19, 2009 4:09 PM
Recent Comments

I had a taste of this s#!t last Friday, waaay too sweet "candy" liqueur for those who don't like Bourbon.

Posted by: Moe Badderman at January 23, 2011 5:26 AM

Delicious, but too sweet with not enough 'bottom'. It is more than just an "infusion" of black cherry. The positive economic factor is : no need for vermouth for a Manhattan and so why bother with the dry vermouth. I've created my own drink. 3 oz. Red Stag over lots of ice, a couple dashes of bitters, fill to top with seltzer or club (lessens the sweetness so it's better than sweet ginger ale or cola) in High Ball Glass. Garnish with any combination of orange slice, lemon peel, cherry. An excellent highball cocktail which doesn't overdo the "whiskey" factor.

Posted by: subina at December 10, 2010 9:03 PM

I too like Jim Beam white label, but the Red Stag is too sweet for my taste. The only way I really like it (and I REALLY like it this way!) is mixed with Dr. Pepper. Try it!

Jim Beam + Dr. Pepper = Dr. Beam
Red Stag + Dr. Pepper = Red Pepper

Posted by: drum365 at November 3, 2010 9:53 PM

This is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Red stag is also wonderful as a steak marinade. I would definitely recommend it to someone who normally prefers a sweeter Irish Whiskey to Bourbon.

Posted by: Robert at October 13, 2010 12:28 PM

What the...??? Now see here! Finest sipping bourbon Red Stag is not. This tastes like a liquer and should be treated as such. I tried cutting it with all sorts of carbonated stuff but what worked best for me was good fresh brewed coffee and cream. Like an Irish coffee but fruity with bourbon depth.

Posted by: Scooterboy at January 21, 2010 9:44 PM

This was actually pretty good as just a shot. My fiancee and I aren't bourbon drinkers at all but this was great and as the review said, it might get us to drink bourbon.

Posted by: Fiddlesticks at December 30, 2009 6:37 PM

While always enjoying both the white Label and the Black Label Jim Beams, the Red Stag is quite refreshing in any form and enjoyed it thoroughly.
I too think I enjoy it best on the rocks and did add both a couple of cocktail cherries and an orange peel to the drink. You guys have created a drink that has many possibilities. Great work!

Posted by: Steve Pados at December 30, 2009 1:38 PM

thanks for the well done review. i'm a beam white drinker and we haven't got this stuff up in canada yet so i was curious to know how it worked out. maybe i'll get some more of my friends on board with beam after some of this. ;)

Posted by: foldered at December 3, 2009 8:23 PM

I heard this advertised on the radio and got a bottle right away. I love Jim Beam and coke, but I'm afraid my worst suspicions are true. It tasts a little too much like cough syrup for my taste. I love regular JB in coffee with sweetener, and they claimed the RS would be good that way as well. I'll have to try it, but so far, I think it's waaaaaay too sweet.

Posted by: Jenjen at November 21, 2009 5:54 PM

ZOMG this stuff is sweet! I mean, really REALLY sweet. It's not bad tasting... but I'm gonna need to figure out what I can use to cut the sweetness. Gonna try mixing one part lemon juice/ 2 parts Red Stag... maybe a little soda on top. Sorta a cherry lemonade flava.

Posted by: Joey Headset at November 5, 2009 11:09 PM

Mixed half and half with water taste just like sweet tea. Very refreshing

Posted by: Brett at September 8, 2009 11:30 PM

"We hesitate to call this a "training wheels" bourbon, but we do think the sweeter flavor will open up the world of bourbon to a whole different class of drinker - those who don't think they could ever like whiskey."

I couldn't agree more, this stuff is a perfect introduction to bourbon for the casual drinker. And quality-wise I was just as skeptical as you, but after reading your positive review decided to pick up a bottle and give it a go. I gotta admit it,...this is TASTY stuff. Though yes, a lot sweeter than I would have imagined. It's dangerously easy to drink, so best to watch how much you've guzzled, ha ha.

Sending out a tweet on this giving you props for the suggestion.

Posted by: The Absinthe Review Network at June 4, 2009 9:35 PM
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