Jim Beam 1980 Election Edition (Republican & Democrat Decanters)

Presidential Election Special American Whiskey Review #71 & 72: Jim Beam 1980 Election Edition (Republican & Democrat Decanters)

Distillery: Jim Beam

Region: Kentucky

Age: 100 months (8 years and a few months)

ABV: 40%


American Whiskey Review #71: Jim Beam 1980 Election Edition (Republican)

Color: 1.4, Tawny.

Nose: (according to the wife) It’s a very strange mix of some fruit and vegetables. Apples and celery stand out but there is the smell of a few others lingering. A herbal tea wraps things up here.

Palate: Oh dear. There’s a bit of corn and then there’s a ton of ethanol. Despite being a meager 40% ABV, all I can taste is rubbing alcohol. It’s bitter, harsh, and rather difficult to drink.

Finish: Mercifully short. So much rubbing alcohol, blech.

Final Score: 40.


American Whiskey Review #72: Jim Beam 1980 Election Edition (Democrat)

Color: 1.6, Mahogany/Henna Notes.

Nose: (according to the wife) It’s quite spicy. There’s a bunch of cinnamon and other baking spices. Nutmeg in particular stands out but there’s more there. There’s a mild note of something awfully like pineapple, it’s quite subtle however.

Palate: Unlike it’s cousin, it’s quite easy going. There’s a bit of peanut and a bit of artificial cherry. Not a whole lot going on here but quite easy to drink.

Finish: Short. There’s more of that artificial cherry and just the slightest bit of ethanol.

Final Score: 71.


Conclusion: I can’t seem to find a whole lot about these specific whiskies online, there’s a heckuva lot more about the decanters themselves online. Long story short, Jim Beam released these special editions for the 1980 elections. One a Republican elephant, the other a Democratic donkey, both filled with whisky aged for 100 months and bottled at 40% ABV. I fully expected that these two whiskies would be exactly the same only to be surprised by two very different ones. Not sure if that’s intentional or if something has happened to them since 1980 but here we are! One is an unimpressive but still palatable whisky, the other is quite frankly nearly undrinkable. It’s a small wonder that the only thing you can find on the internet easily about these is about the decanters themselves, they are by far the most interesting bit of these. Still, it’s been incredible to taste this little bit from the past.

American Whiskey Review #71 & 72, Bourbon Review #57 & 58, Whisky Network Review #332 & 333


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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