Jim Beam Red Stag Black Cherry Bourbon Review
We 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
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.
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.
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
"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.