The trilogy has come to an end: Jim Beam’s Hardin’s Creek Kentucky Series closes with the final round of three 17 year old bourbons, all identical except for their aging location. After Clermont and Frankfort we wind things up with Boston, which isn’t a reference to the capital of Massachusetts but rather a small town south of Louisville, where Jim Beam’s Booker Noe campus can be found. Per Beam, “This location is unlike any other – rack houses are spread out generously in the golden sunshine and clear air, ideal for maturation. These unique conditions mean fast, richer aging and result in a bold and characterful liquid, much like Booker Noe himself.”
This final whiskey offers an aggressive, char-heavy attack on the nose, loaded with tobacco and dark chocolate notes. Very peppery, which gives the whiskey more of a frontier character than the others in this lineup.
On the palate, again quite burly and aggressive — but not in a punishing or daunting way. Black pepper, licorice, and tanned leather are prominent, with sweetness relegated to the back end. Blackstrap molasses and grilled meats dominate, followed by layers of raisins and a pinch of baking spice. Lingering chocolate clings to the finish.
Hearty, with a touch of mint on the finish, the whiskey isn’t quite as balanced as Clermont but has more character than the more straightforward and effusive Frankfort expression. I like all three, but my final ranking is Clermont > Boston > Frankfort, with Clermont and Boston being much closer in that calculus.