I like where Beam sits in the bourbon world. It is always available, very solid, underhyped, straightforward offerings that are as consistent as the rickhouse aisles are long. In our ongoing analysis of “what happened to double digit age statements” we land on this 12 year old gem.
The days of white label Elijah Craig 12 year are gone, and Mckenna and Eagle Rare 10 year are becoming quickly extinct thanks to hoarders. As a result, it is refreshing to see a 12 year bottle for less than $100 that hasn’t been infected by flippers who love pithy backstories to prop up values. Knob Creek tried to go NAS on us, but the 9 and 12’s couldn’t stay away. Pure ether.
The cost to value ratio is off the charts. You get the depth, dryness, robust oak and lacquer of the age, but without dropping $400 on a bottle some celebrities or CEOs blended into a fancy bottle. This is just consistent, solid, relatively old juice at a fantastic price. There isn’t that disconnect like the person who buys produce but never eats it.
It isn’t pure fusel bucking bronco with a slipping transmission, you have Bookers for that, it isn’t proofed down into nothingness, you have Basil Haydens for that. KC12 is a bastion of accessibility, price, complexity, without having to dip into the trash tide pools and paying secondary to some stupid flipper who wears his Android phone on his belt buckle and purchases “tactical” items.
The nose is without surprises, defaults to zucchini bread, allspice, gingersnaps, and English Breakfast Tea. The taste showcases the age better with Brooks leather bicycle saddle, Samoa cookies, and butane churro. At 100pf it is entirely approachable without sacrificing runtime. Finish seems much older than 12 year and goes this Diageo wet deck, Skoal, and bananas fosters. Anyone can drink this, seasoned drinkers won’t feel like they made a concession, most things above this will be a marked loss on ROI.
Whenever a bourbon reviewer has something expensive they always do this awshucks salt of the earth final paragraph where they suggest the same 5 sub-$60 bottles so they can seem relatable. That isn’t needed here. This is already the optimized taste to cost form, just buy this. Everything else is a corncession.