I’m a little skittish about trying new products. We were in Kentucky this Spring and my trusty sidekick spotted this bottle at a small liquor store. I remembered reading about this new release from Beam Suntory.
I enjoy many of the Beam products, though I’ve not tried a Japanese whisky, so I was a bit unsure. At $35, I didn’t go broke trying this release.
Coming to market in March of 2019, Legent is a product of two Master Distillers – Fred Noe at Jim Beam Distillery – and Chief Blender at Suntory – Shinji Fukoyo. Bottled at 94 proof, it contains 3 components – traditional Jim Beam bourbon (aged at least four years), a second batch of bourbon finished in California red wine casks and sherry casks for another 1-2 two years. When complete, Shinji applies his artistry to blend the three batches together. This is the first new standalone product from Beam Suntory in 27 years.
The mashbill is likely a traditional Beam, containing 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley.
Nose: This has a traditional cornbread-forward and sweet Beam nose, layered with delicate fruit notes and woody, rickhouse. I caught some apricot, peach, and even some light cherry notes. A traditional bourbon married with some very unique fruit notes.
Palate: Definitely Beam. Sweet, smooth, and a lot of good corn, vanilla, and gentle caramel flavors. Light on the tongue. Lots of fruit flavors here – more apricot and some light floral essences.
Finish: Medium. Smooth with some peppery spice with lingering delicate fruit and apricot notes ending in a woody, dry finale.
Overall: While this isn’t my favorite Beam-Suntory product, there’s some uniqueness to this. I will say that I lean towards the more traditional distillers and bourbons that can craft product without finishing or with a single note of finishing, such as Maker’s 46 or Angel’s Envy. I’m a traditionalist at heart, and when you’re bringing in a couple of finishings you’re taking it further and further away from the original distillate. That said, there is a little bit of uniqueness in this East-meets-West collaboration. At a $35 price-point, this can be an affordable addition and discussion point at your next neighborhood tasting event.