Why not Jim Beam, then?
Jacob’s Ghost — named after the founding father of Jim Beam, Jacob Beam, who distilled his first whiskey in 1795 — is a white whiskey with a twist. Made from the same mashbill as Jim Beam’s white label, this isn’t white dog bottled right off the still. Instead, it’s aged in barrel for a full year, then filtered to get most of the color out of it.
A year in barrel will give a lot of color to a whiskey, and you’ll notice that Jacob’s Ghost is not entirely clear. It’s a very pale yellow — on par with a very light white wine — that really does come across as a bit ghostly.
That year really makes all the difference. The burly petrol notes of true white dog are mellowed out, leaving behind a smoother white whiskey than you might be accustomed to.
The nose offers few clues. Very sweet, it’s got a distinct marshmallow character to it. Touches of oak, but very mild on the nose.
The body follows suit: Big marshmallow notes. Sugar and vanilla all the way, with just a touch of corn — think Fritos — on the finish. Everything you’re expecting in a white whiskey is simply not present here. No roughness, no vegetal notes, no fire water. It’s sweet enough to make you feel like it’s doctored — though I don’t actually believe that.
What Jacob’s Ghost is lacking is complexity. This is a very young, and very sweet whiskey, through and through. I’d wager most tasters would have trouble guessing what this was at all. Is it vodka? White rum? Tequila? Try serving this to your whiskey friends and watch their heads spin.
Fun stuff. I’m into it.
On sale February 2013. 80 proof.
A- / $22 / jimbeam.com