Today we got a heads up from our local bottle shop about Jim Beam Kentucky Fire. We’d heard rumblings of this release in the past, but nothing since, and a quick Internet search found zero official announcement from Jim Beam. But there it was, sitting right in front of the store, already unceremoniously marked down $4 on its first day in the market.
According to the label, Jim Beam Kentucky Fire is “Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey infused with cinnamon liqueur.” And it’s a pretty obvious answer to the recently launched Jack Daniels Tennessee Fire. For years, Fireball dominated the category, but now it seems you can’t walk into a bar without tripping over a bottle of cinnamon whiskey.
On the nose, you’ll get a full hit of cinnamon candy and not much else. Drink up, and it’s about the same. A big rush of Red Hots up front. It’s sweet, it’s hot and there’s very little bourbon to speak of. We tried it neat, on ice and chilled as a shot, which is probably how the majority of drinkers will consume this stuff. Between the three serves — which, yes, was about three too many — we definitely preferred it on the rocks. The addition of ice and some dilution tames the fire, of course, and it tempers the sweetness, making it much more palatable and actually kind of tasty, in a remembering-your-childhood kind of way.
Clearly there’s a market for cinnamon-flavored spirits — and flavored whiskeys in general — but we’d have appreciated some actual bourbon notes to carry through the Kentucky Fire’s backbone of candy-like cinnamon. It’s easy to forget you’re drinking whiskey with this one.
There’s nothing official to go on yet, but we found retail pricing at $19.99. It’s currently being stocked at Sigel’s stores here in Texas, but we’ll assume Kentucky Fire is also hitting more markets across the nation.
– 35% ABV