Old Tub. Those of you who have studied Jim Beam history may know this label as one of Beam’s most popular late 19th century bourbons. Like many big brands of its day, the brand was largely mothballed after prohibition. Those of you who know of Old Tub but aren’t familiar with its history may know Old Tub from its distillery only 375ml release, over the past at least decade.
This past June, however, Jim Beam announced that it was taking the Old Tub brand national, with a limited release 750ml bottling. Unlike the 375ml release, however, the 750ml bottling is non-chill-filtered.
The brand hit shelves in Kansas in the past few weeks, at a price tag ranging from $21-25. While the price tag is to be admired for a special release, the bourbon itself has been met with mixed reviews. Why not add our opinion to the mix?
Old Tub Bottled-in-Bond (2020 750ml Limited Edition) (NAS) (Non-Chill-Filtered)
Nose: Ethanol upfront that is one of the only true signs of this bourbon’s lack of refinement. Vanilla; toffee; light butterscotch; light peanut/almond; cinnamon; orange, apple and apricot fruit. (2.5/5)
Palate: A burst of stone fruit; apple pie; oak; toffee; buttered cornbread; vanilla; mixed nut; chocolate; flat cola. Rich, but still a bit of acetone/ethanol. (3/5)
Finish: A wave of peanut and apple butter; orange zest; baking spice/cinnamon candy heat; lingering vanilla candy; heath bar. (3/5)
Overall: This is a very drinkable bourbon. Classic. Rich. Layered. Is it highly refined and something that will stand up next to some heavy hitters? No, but it stands up very well next to anything south of $30. Many (not all) of the competitors in this price range (sub $22 or so) have some distinct characteristic that tends to dominate – examples that stand out to me are Old Grand-Dad Bottled in Bond with the Beam funk, or Evan Williams White Label and the peanut, Old Forester 100 proof and the banana. This stands above those with a better balance and complexity. (3/5)
Value: I picked this up for $21, and I’ve seen it around local for around $24. Don’t pass this one up. It hits well above this price range. (3.5/5)
“…it stands up very well next to anything south of $30.”
Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.