Jim Beam’s Red Stag – Black Cherry Bourbon Review

red-stag-whiskeyIf you’re a bourbon whiskey fan you may want to try something slightly different than the usual. We all get in a habit of drinking what we know but Jim Beam’s recently introduced something new that we need to familiarize yourself with: Red Stag Cherry Bourbon.

Red Stag has been available since June of 2009 and is the first infused bourbon from Jim Beam and the first innovation from the company since Jim Beam Black. The Black Cherry is a natural infusion, not some sickly sweet addition. I’m ready to sit down and see what Red Stag is all about!

I’ve poured Red Stag on ice and straight to get a full idea of the flavor profile. The color is beautiful gold and copper with a very mature and natural look. It smells delicious. Seriously delightful in nose with the inclusion of a nice dark bing cherry juice which I appreciate as a bing cherry fan without the big seeds in the center.

The sweetness on the nose carries a subtle aged whiskey along with the black cherry infusions. Overall, the largest bouquet is that of cherry with a slight creamy oak, perhaps mostly like a cherry tree. On ice, the nose loses some of its sweet cherry and brings more of the underlying whiskey to the forefront. Personally, I like the neat scents better than the iced because it brings something new and unusual.

The taste is intense and juicy. My first thought was to drink it like a juice as the initial attack was so juicy and flavorful. But, I thought better of drinking Red Stag like a juice when the burn arrived a split second following my sip. The initial attack is rich juicy cherry with a creamy oaked whiskey mid-palate to a ripe red fruit finish which ends with a slightly bitter sweetness. The bitterness is important, in my opinion, as a black cherry has both sweet and bitter properties when ready to eat.

Now for the chilled Red Stag on ice, any difference? The attack is much calmer and has more oak properties with subtle cherries. Once chilled, I was able to enjoy a bit more of the roundness and thickness of the spirit. Without the ice I’ve noticed the cherry really distracts my senses for detecting the viscosity. Taking a second sip of the straight glass allowed me a few moments to roll the liquids around in my mouth but the sweetness quickly took over and brought me for a second ride on the cherry train.

Overall, I’m leaning towards Red Stag on the rocks. The flavors are toned down enough to balance the spirit with the fine oaks and the black cherries without attacking my senses with the fruit. Folks that love cherry juice may want to focus more on a straight pour for this baby.

For those looking more for the spirit details, Red Stag is an 80-Proof whiskey created with four year-old Kentucky Bourbon along side natural black cherry flavors. A 750ml bottle should retail for roughly USD $17.99 and my next task, if enough of the sample remains, is to test Red Stag in a glass of Coke Zero or other cola product. It would also be interesting to try Red Stag in a Manhattan recipe.