Jim Beam Rye (2020 Pre-Prohibition Style)

”Ice Ice Baby”

Whisky Review # 893

Country: USA
Brand: Jim Beam Rye (Pre-Prohibition Style)
Type: Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Age: NAS (4 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: New Charred American White Oak
Charcoal Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 30-35 (November 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐Okay I guess.
Buying Advice: 😑 Good on the Rocks but not good enough as a sipping Whiskey.


I reviewed Jim Beam Rye for the first time on June 28, 2013. Below you will find my tasting notes and score. The packaging was revived in 2016 and the whiskey gained the title of Pre-Prohibition Style. I'm pretty sure the Mash-Bill remained the same though. Last month I received a bottle of Jim Beam Rye as a gift and that's a good reason to revisit this Kentucky Whiskey.

Review 2013

Colour: Golden

Nose: Quite different from the Templeton Rye Small Batch I nosed earlier. Sure, the Rye is there and so are Saw Dust and Spices like Cloves, Pepper and Nutmeg. But I also get Corn, Cinnamon, Maraschino Cherries, Charred Oak, Glue, Vanilla, Orange, Lemon, Apple and Tangerine. A hint of Leather and Wood Polish as well. Jim Beam Rye tries to combine the Best of Both Worlds. The result is not unpleasant but a bit flat.

Palate: The Palate basically follows the Nose with lots of Spices like Black Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves and Cinnamon, accompanied by Honey, Citrus, Mint, Rye-Bread, Maraschino Cherries, Tangerine, Vanilla, Caramel and Oak. Some characteristics of the Jim Beam standard Bourbon have been preserved.

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with Cherries, Tangerine, Vanilla, Mint, Pepper and Cinnamon.

I added a bit of Water and the Nose gets more Vanilla and Maple Syrup while the Rye and Spices retreat. The Palate and Finish become a bit too thin and slightly bitter. Better sip it neat or enjoy it on the Rocks.

Rating: 81.5

Let's find out if my opinion on this Rye Whiskey has changed 7 years later!

Review 2020


Pale Golden with hues of Orange


Sweet, Young, Spicy & Nervous. The Alcohol is noticeable. Lots of Grains, Caramel, Citrus & Spices.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Corn, Rye-Bread, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Mandarin, Tangerine, Saw Dust, Glue, Banana Bread, Maraschino Cherries, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Orange, Lemon, Char, Nail Polish, Blueberry Muffin, Green Apple, Cardboard Boxes, Leather, Grass and Aniseed.


Young, Thin, Harsh, Spicy and Sweet with a few Bitter and Sour notes. This is not really a sipping Whiskey.

Main Flavours:

Rye-Bread, Grains, Caramel, Orange, Mandarin, Tangerine, Maraschino-Cherries, Peppermint, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves and Cinnamon.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Sour Green Apples, Banana,Floral Soap, Lemon, Varnish, Oak Chips, Licorice and Aniseed.


Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. A few Sour notes as well. An almost artificial dryness towards the end. It doesn't really invite you to have another sip. I find Rye, Grains, Caramel, Vanilla, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Mandarin, Tangerine, Sour Apple, Lemon-Tea, Bread Dough, Oak, Peppermint, Licorice, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Cloves.

Drinking Advice:

I added some Water. Vanilla & Caramel advance while the Spices retreat somewhat. Palate and Finish become Thin but also a bit more smooth. I get some Nectarine as well. In 2020 I prefer this Jim Beam over Ice.

Rating: 77.5

Nose: 20 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Borderline Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good


Jim Beam Rye is produced in Clermont in the state of Kentucky. It's certainly one of America's Top Selling Rye Whiskeys. It is made with 51% Rye in the Mash bill and probably also contains around 40% of corn & around 10% Malted Barley. It matures for 4 years in freshly Charred White Oak Barrels.

I assume that the mash-bill hasn't changed since 2013. I must admit though that I liked this Jim Beam Rye slightly less now than back in 2013. I now find it to be good on the rocks but not good enough as a sipping Whiskey. It's simply too Young, Nervous and Thin for that purpose. It's not overly expensive though and will serve well for cocktails. I think there's a 45% Alcohol expression around and that should be more adequate as the extra Alcohol will carry the Aromas and Flavors in a better way. I would certainly advise you to get this more potent version if you can find it. As it is I find it difficult to really recommend Jim Beam Rye though at this point in time. I certainly won't buy another full bottle of it anytime soon.


Jan van den Ende                                                                   November 16, 2020

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