Spirit of the Week: Hardin’s Creek Jacob’s Well Kentucky Straight Bourbon

From James B. Beam Distilling Company’s premium new Hardin’s Creek line, this top-shelf bourbon boasts rich notes of caramel and oak with hints of peach and ripe apricot.

(Hardin’s Creek)

One of the pillar families of American whiskey royalty just unveiled not only a brand new expression but an entirely new ongoing label. At a private event celebrating the official opening of their revamped distillery experience in Clermont, Jim Beam Master Distiller—and world renowned master raconteur—Fred Noe took the stage and made two headline grabbing announcements.

First was that his son, 8th Generation Beam Family Distiller Freddie Noe, would join him as fellow Master Distiller. Not when the legendary Fred retires—as he took the reins when his pops Booker retired—but simultaneously, so the two could work alongside one another. The idea being that Freddie would take control over the newly opened Fred B. Noe Distillery, dedicated to his father.

“One of my biggest regrets is to never have distilled alongside my own father, Booker, so working side-by-side with Freddie will be a dream come true,” Fred explained from the porch of the new distillery. “I believe that a Master Distiller should understand the craft of distilling, uphold quality, and honor tradition while spearheading innovation. Freddie embodies this wholeheartedly and I look forward to seeing Freddie lead the charge in creating the next generation of whiskeys that help to grow the American whiskey category around the world.” 

In the honor of that pledge for innovation, the father-son Noe duo unveiled Hardin’s Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey—an ongoing annual series of limited production releases featuring some of the rarest and most unique whiskies in the Jim Beam rickhouses. 

The more affordable of this year’s Hardin’s Creek offerings, Colonel James B. Beam (SRP $80), features a blend of very young (only 2-years old) Kentucky whiskies. But it is their Jacob’s Well bottle, named after the spring that helped build the Jim Beam empire, that really moves us. Via Zoom we sat down with father and son Noe and toasted their new line with a dram of Jacob’s Well at an event they noted was 227 years in the making—their forebear Jacob Beam first set up shop in Kentucky in 1795. An honor to share the moment with them. 

A rich blend of two ultra-aged bourbons—a 16-year-old bourbon with a 15-year-old high-rye bourbon—Jacob’s Well boasts a gorgeous amber color mated to a luxurious mouthfeel. But it is the bourbon’s rich notes of caramel and oak with a hint of peach and ripe apricot that makes this our Spirit of the Week. 

Both of the limited edition Hardin’s Creek whiskies comes bottled at 54% ABV, and neither will be seen again once they’ve sold out. The two new expressions will hit shelves across America on July 1—just in time to celebrate Independence Day.

Follow our Contributing Spirits Editor on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.

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