Jim Beam Red Stag Whiskey

Posted 4/1/2011

Ok, so I’ve been looking for an inexpensive, high-quality American whiskey to rival my favorite single-malt Scotches, and I think I’m finally on to something here. Red Stag is a fine whiskey product from the makers of Jim Beam Bourbon which has been artisanally infused with the essence of black cherry. Throw away your preconceptions about “Real” whiskey. Forget caramel coloring and cask finishing. Why painstakingly age expensive liquid in secondhand barrels for decades to coax out faint flavors like black cherry when you can just add that flavor straight to the whiskey! These guys at Jim Beam are true visionaries, and should inspire some of the stodgy old Scotch makers should take a few long, hard looks at their so-called “time honored” recipes. This is the future! In a utopia led by the marketing prophets at Jim Beam, we can look forward to a world full of whiskey and whisky that doesn’t just taste like something, but is actually mixed with that flavor! Just think, Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or with the essence of real white grapes and golden raisins! Or maybe a nice fruity Balvenie with actual honey and fruit juice in it! Why detect mere hints of seaweed and smoke in your Laphroaig, when it can arrive in your mouth perfectly blended with pulped seaweed and liquid smoke extract! And now for the tasting notes:

Nose: Like the finest Glenmorangie, the delicate scent of Kentucky clover fields and rich clover honey tempts the nose, and the mild perfume of freshly-fallen black cherries and cherry blossoms fills the air when poured.

Palate: Soft and silky, sweet and pungent. Rivalling the finest single-malt Scotches, this liquid is nuanced and intricate, sweet and savory. This is ambrosia!

Finish: For hours, you are awash in a sea of cherry blossoms and golden waves of grain, which fade ever so gently.

Elegant and sophisticated, yet robust and complex. Truly a masterful dram of epic proportions, and only $15 a bottle at your local Rite-Aid! What a treat.

April Fool’s!
Truly, this stuff is pretty awful. Here are my real tasting notes:
Nose: Medicinal, rough nasal burn. Maybe a slight hint of cherries, but not definite. Background of cereal grains, but everything is lost in that rough alcohol scent.

Palate: COUGH SYRUP! Oh God, it’s like Benadryl. Super dense cherry syrup flavor (and texture – this is pretty heavy bodied). Sweet like children’s breakfast cereal, complete with the marshmallows. This could be vodka for all the whiskey flavor matters. This isn’t just “infused” with cherry flavor, this is clearly mixed heavily with sugary cherry syrup.

Finish: Unfortunately long, with that medicinal, cherry syrup flavor coating the throat for several minutes.

The one good thing I can say about this, is that despite the very alcoholic nose, the resulting mixture is so sweet that you barely notice the burn, so it’s actually pretty smooth. You could also spring it on your friends as a practical joke, because it looks whiskey-like, and doesn’t betray its true nature in the nose.

Happy April Fool’s Everyone!

Jim Beam Red Stag Whiskey
40% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $15
Acquired: (50 ml sample): Gift. Thanks, Louis, you changed my life!

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  • This is the first review of yours which really raised an eyebrow. I kept waiting for you to say, “just kidding”, but it never came. I was shocked to see not only a numerical score (of 98 no less), but also its inclusion onto the “must have” list. Now I’m curious as to how you would rate this against your other “must have” whiskies/whiskeys. I’ve never tried Red Stag, but I would have never imagined I was missing out on much. Very interesting.

  • I was reading this thinking… no way.. absolutely no way. Then I saw half way down… wheew.

    I concur. You may as well drink straight black cherry syrup. Red Stag Black Cherry is waaaaaaay too syrupy.

  • I tried it less then a month ago and consider me weird or whatever, I LOVED the taste of it. As a lover of Crown I can use this as a replacement when budget is tight. And the cherry flavor is what made it to where I had to take shot after shot. Drinking it straight.

    • Hi Lily,
      Glad you enjoyed it – I agree that if you have to take it in shot form, that the extra sweetness from the cherry flavoring makes it a lot more pleasant than straight Jim Beam. The honey flavored ‘bourbons’ are also much easier to shoot. Most of the whisky I review on this blog, though, is suitable for sipping, and I don’t think either Jim Beam or the flavored versions are good for sipping and tasting. Try a shot of Macallan 12 straight, but sip it and hold it in your mouth and taste it and see how that experience compares. Cheers!

  • I made the mistake of ordering this at a bar recently. My tastebuds were treated to a tour of a childhood medicine cabinet. I found it indistinguishable from Robitussin. The part I didn’t understand was that thick, viscous feeling I got from it. Seriously, where did that come from? I don’t get that from Jim Beam or any other bourbon I can remember tasting. They must have chosen some really thick cherry syrup for this.

    • Just the thought of it actually turns my stomach. 😉 I can’t imagine that the honey, blackberry, cinnamon, or other flavored “whiskies” on the market now could be much better. Personally, if I wanted a whisky cocktail with any of those flavors, I’d buy a high-quality syrup and add it, and my chosen whisky, in the proportions that suited me…. but there’s no arguing that this stuff sells.

  • I enjoy it on ice. You people exaggerate…syrup? Robatussin? I love cherries and the flavor. While I also enjoy my Oban the Beam is more like an apparatif.


  • I got stuck with a bottle of this at a white elephant Christmas exchange. Tried to drink it, but had to pour it out…this is worse than sloe gin.