Legent Bourbon is a collaboration between the two halves of Beam Suntory. It’s a Kentucky bourbon, made by Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe, that includes three components. The first is the bourbon itself, matured for approximately five years, along with parcels finished in California red wine casks (for approximately one extra year) and sherry casks (for approximately two extra years). The release is the culmination of nearly half a decade of efforts. In 2014, Jim Beam–the biggest bourbon maker in the US–was acquired by Suntory – the largest Japanese whisky producer. The resulting company, Beam Suntory, immediately became the world’s third largest spirits company. But the acquisition did more than just mingle assets. It brought industry legends together. It was around this time that Fred Noe, seventh-generation Master Distiller of Jim Beam, befriended Shinji Fukuyo–only the fifth Chief Blender in Suntory’s 95-year history. It wasn’t long before they began brainstorming ways to focus their talents on this singular project.
The bouquet is like a classic Beam bourbon that has seen some time inside a variety of wine barrels. Heavy, malty and red fruity in equal measure, it has notes of dusty corn, cereal grains, buttery toffee and orange peel, along with stewed dark fruit and roasted nuts. The sherry barrels make themselves felt, although the red fruitiness almost gives them more of a port-like character. The palate shows roasted peanuts, toasted bread, cracked black pepper and then plenty of black cherry/raspberry fruitiness, with mild-to-moderate residual sweetness. The wine barrel character is present, without being overbearing or becoming completely dominant, which is nice. Heat is fairly subdued on the finish.