One doesn’t need to be deep in the bourbon saddle to see how much Jim Beam offers to budget-minded drinkers. Between White, Black, Double Oak, Repeal Batch, Bonded, Devil’s Cut, and more, there’s no shortage of options for people limited to the $20 range. So, what’s another bottle in the same range going to hurt?
Old Tub Bottled in Bond, on top of checking the usual boxes that come with being a bonded whiskey, is untouched by chill or carbon filtration to further call back to the Old Tub name, which predates Jim Beam. Prior to 2020, this was only available at the Jim Beam distillery in a 375mL bottle. Now it’s been widely released in fifths (750mL), complete with a cork instead of Jim Beam’s normal screw top. A sample of this expression was provided by a fellow whiskey fan. Let’s dive in:
Nose: Creamed caramel and nuts with an undercurrent of light mustiness. Decent dose of oak with fruit (cherry) drying on the staves. Swirling brings roasted peanuts to the forefront with just a bit of brown sugar.
Palate: Mellow, slightly creamy mouthfeel. Peanut butter, wood, and vanilla. Nicely coats the palate.
Finish: Pleasantly lengthy. Lightly dry oak and roasted nuts. Brown sugar and dried caramel creep in here and there.
Don’t let the scarce tasting notes fool you: I enjoyed this quite a bit. Even top-end bourbons aren’t prone to being especially complex, which isn’t a criticism in and of itself. Old Tub is about as simple as a Jim Beam bourbon can get, but that isn’t to say it’s automatically swappable with their other expressions. The lack of filtration and 100 proof give the bourbon a full, welcoming consistency which, combined with a strong nut-forward profile, makes it strikingly reminiscent of Booker’s. In fact, Jim Beam could just as easily name this “Diet Booker’s” and they’d probably make a killing with sales.
As it stands, Old Tub is a welcome addition that budget-minded drinkers and fans of Jim Beam are highly encouraged to seek out. I hope against all likelihood that this becomes a permanent addition to their greater lineup, because it’s a great option to keep in mind when the wallet gets thinner. And let’s be honest, some of our wallets are going through some pretty drastic diets.