Whiskey Review: Jim Beam Orange

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Jim Beam. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Happy Summer to everyone. That feels really good to say. As well as looking forward to warmer temperatures, longer daylight hours, and fun in the outdoors, the air seems to also teem with an optimistic sense of great times to come as we cautiously return to a social lifestyle. All of the cooking techniques and grilling recipes we learned while being locked down are just waiting to be shared with some company. That also means that our libation focus tends to shift towards “crushable,” easy to drink, light alcoholic beverages. 

Walking down the beverage aisle definitely has some colorful fanfare in the summertime. You can’t help but notice the cases of hard seltzer and ready-to-drink canned cocktails filling your fellow shoppers’ carts. You may even begin to wonder, “Is there a place for the whiskey drinker in the carbonated sunshine?”

The answer, of course, is yes. It is always whiskey season. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an opportunity to expand our repertoire. One aspect of the trade that is showing huge growth is flavored whiskey. While many of these are technically liqueurs, whiskey makers are and have been taking notice.

Jim Beam’s latest addition to their flavored line up, Jim Beam Orange, also comes with specific suggestions on how to best enjoy it, including a targeted campaign to offer “bored beer fans” an alternative by making a highball. As with most cocktail lore, the best we can do is come up with some pretty good guesses as to where the name came from, but we can all agree as to what makes a highball: spirit served in a tall glass over ice and then topped with a carbonated beverage.

The recipe that they suggest for their highball is one part Jim Beam Orange to four parts premium soda water. They suggest building the drink over ice in a highball glass, and garnishing with an orange wedge. I would like to suggest procuring some better ice, as well. It is worth it. While the modern miracle of an in-home ice maker is something we can hardly imagine living without, those convenient crescents trap aromas that are present in your freezer and will make themselves known as they chill in your beverage. You don’t have to go overboard. A bag of ice from the supermarket will make a huge difference in your presentation, especially when company is finally coming over.  

Tasting for a Whiskey Wash review is typically done with the spirit straight. However, Jim Beam also suggests serving this one chilled as well as in a highball. I will be tasting it all three ways, and reviewing accordingly.

Jim Beam Orange

Jim Beam Orange (image via Jason Marshall)

Tasting Notes: Jim Beam Orange

Vital Stats: Orange Liqueur infused with Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon. 65 proof (32.5% ABV). Suggested retail price of $15.99 for 750ml.

Appearance:  Mellow golden uniformity in the glass, yet still bright and clear.

Nose: Candied orange and vanilla mix with honeysuckle and oak. There’s a hint of citrus oil and orange cream soda.

Palate (straight): Strong saccharin sweetness right out of the gate. The citrus oil and orange candy flavors continue, and it has an almost waxy mouthfeel. Slightly bitter orange rind aftertaste.

Palate (chilled): Chilling the drink definitely tones down some of the stronger sweetness and orange; however, the strong candy flavors remain.

Palate (as a highball): Adding the seltzer makes it taste just like an orange cream soda, while adding the slice of fresh orange gives it a nice dimension and texture.


The Takeaway

Summary

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The highball was definitely the way to go. I can appreciate the thought intended, but I really wished it would have challenged the palate more instead of just offering orange and sweet. I could, however, see these disappear before you know it around a summer barbecue.

2.5
User Rating 3.2 (5 votes)
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