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Review: 1980 Beam Ducks Unlimited

1980 Jim Beam Ducks Unlimited "Blue-winged Teal" 100 months old - 40%

So many teachable moments with this pour.

Birth year bottles - we want to feel connected to something that's existed along a similar timeline. There's a philosophical rabbithole we could go down there, but by and large, it's a flawed criteria unless the objectives are purely nostalgic.

Decanters and lead: old whiskey is a dice roll as far as lead levels go (not just decanters); production equipment was different back then. Decanters tend to pose a higher risk because of the glazing used inside some decanters. I'm not comfortable having more than a 2 oz pour/month from decanters. Please remember, lead is never safe to consume. There are two Straight Bourbon threads (One and Two) that debates this in better detail - worth a look. Two is more in depth.

The quality of bourbon inside decanters also seems to be more of a crap shoot i.e. the Turkey Decanters I reviewed. Knickknacks were the sell here, not the juice.

Finally, it's tough to find good 80 proof bourbon.


Nose: Light. Very reserved. Peanuts. Grassy. Earthy. Cardboard. Cherry cough drops. Thin oak.

Flavor: Peanuts. Quick caramel. Red apples. Thin oak.

Structure: Thin. Linear. Medium length. Drying in the finish.

Alcohol Integration: Watered down and thin.

Score: 3 (Anything Else?) Light and forgettable profile, but the low proof completely kills it. Bourbons like this made me think anything 80 proof would probably be terrible. I was surprised to find brandy and tequila that managed to deliver rich flavors and rewarding structures at sub-90 proof through slow reduction and/or lower distillation proof.


You May Also Dig:

Eagle Rare or Russell's Reserve 10 yr

To deliver light, oak forward profiles. Even over-oaked bottles of ER and RR10 significantly outperform this.


Rating System

10 - Reevaluate The Budget

9 - Stash Two (If Able)

8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)

7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers

6 - Solid - Above Average

5 - Acceptable For The Situation

4 - Not Vocally Complaining

3 - Anything Else To Drink?

2 - Nothing Nice To Say

1 - Drain Pour

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