The concept of terroir in whiskey has its defenders and detractors, but one thing is certain—the spirit inside a barrel will taste different depending on where it’s aged and what the climate there is like. And that is the raison d’être behind Jim Beam’s Hardin’s Creek Kentucky Series, which just dropped its third and final release.
Hardin’s Creek launched in 2022 with two bourbons, the young Colonel James B. Beam and the aged Jacob’s Well. Then last spring the details for the Kentucky Series were announced, and two previous iterations were subsequently released: Clermont and Frankfort. Like those whiskeys, the new Boston bourbon is named after a production site on the greater James B. Beam Distilling Co. campus (sorry, Celtics fans, we’re talking Boston, Kentucky). Eighth-generation master distiller Freddie Noe, who also created Little Book Whiskey, is the main force behind Hardin’s Creek. The whiskey in each release was all distilled at the same time from the same mash bill and aged for 17 years, with the only variable being where it was aged. And if you taste each side by side, there are indeed differences between them.
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The Boston location of the James B. Beam Distilling Co. is also known as the Booker Noe campus, named after the late great Beam master distiller (Freddie’s grandfather and Fred Noe’s father). According to the brand, the rickhouses there are exposed to abundant sunlight, resulting in “fast, richer aging” and “bold and characterful liquid.”
“The Boston campus creates a flavor profile my granddaddy Booker Noe looked for and talked about,” said Noe in a statement. “I think he would have loved this.”
Boston was bottled at 55 percent ABV. The bourbon is a rich, dark brown color, with notes of oak, vanilla, and cherry on the nose. The palate is oaky and nutty, with notes of dark chocolate, espresso, candied orange, yellow cake, prune, and burnt brown sugar. The finish is warm and spicy, and overall this is a fantastic finale to the series.
All three of the Hardin’s Creek Kentucky Series bourbons are a little locate to find online at the moment (SRP $170), but you can find the first two releases now at websites like ReserveBar. If you manage to find bottles of all three of the latest bourbons, do a side-by-side tasting to see where you land on the concept of warehouse terroir.
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