Jim Beam’s Red Stag – Black Cherry Bourbon Review

red-stag-whiskeyIf you’re a bourbon whiskey fan you may want to try something slightly different than the usual. We all get in a habit of drinking what we know but Jim Beam’s recently introduced something new that we need to familiarize yourself with: Red Stag Cherry Bourbon.

Red Stag has been available since June of 2009 and is the first infused bourbon from Jim Beam and the first innovation from the company since Jim Beam Black. The Black Cherry is a natural infusion, not some sickly sweet addition. I’m ready to sit down and see what Red Stag is all about!

I’ve poured Red Stag on ice and straight to get a full idea of the flavor profile. The color is beautiful gold and copper with a very mature and natural look. It smells delicious. Seriously delightful in nose with the inclusion of a nice dark bing cherry juice which I appreciate as a bing cherry fan without the big seeds in the center.

The sweetness on the nose carries a subtle aged whiskey along with the black cherry infusions. Overall, the largest bouquet is that of cherry with a slight creamy oak, perhaps mostly like a cherry tree. On ice, the nose loses some of its sweet cherry and brings more of the underlying whiskey to the forefront. Personally, I like the neat scents better than the iced because it brings something new and unusual.

The taste is intense and juicy. My first thought was to drink it like a juice as the initial attack was so juicy and flavorful. But, I thought better of drinking Red Stag like a juice when the burn arrived a split second following my sip. The initial attack is rich juicy cherry with a creamy oaked whiskey mid-palate to a ripe red fruit finish which ends with a slightly bitter sweetness. The bitterness is important, in my opinion, as a black cherry has both sweet and bitter properties when ready to eat.

Now for the chilled Red Stag on ice, any difference? The attack is much calmer and has more oak properties with subtle cherries. Once chilled, I was able to enjoy a bit more of the roundness and thickness of the spirit. Without the ice I’ve noticed the cherry really distracts my senses for detecting the viscosity. Taking a second sip of the straight glass allowed me a few moments to roll the liquids around in my mouth but the sweetness quickly took over and brought me for a second ride on the cherry train.

Overall, I’m leaning towards Red Stag on the rocks. The flavors are toned down enough to balance the spirit with the fine oaks and the black cherries without attacking my senses with the fruit. Folks that love cherry juice may want to focus more on a straight pour for this baby.

For those looking more for the spirit details, Red Stag is an 80-Proof whiskey created with four year-old Kentucky Bourbon along side natural black cherry flavors. A 750ml bottle should retail for roughly USD $17.99 and my next task, if enough of the sample remains, is to test Red Stag in a glass of Coke Zero or other cola product. It would also be interesting to try Red Stag in a Manhattan recipe.


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  • Reply
    Red Manhattan Recipe | Everyday Drinkers
    August 20, 2009 at 11:47 am

    […] always good to try something new and expand your cocktail palate. You can read our Red Stag review to learn more. Share and […]

  • Reply
    November 5, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Anyone know how to make a naughty santa? I had it last Christmas. I know it has Red Stag, Amaretto, Pomegranate and cranberry juice. But I have no idea on proportions. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Derrick Schommer
      November 6, 2010 at 1:16 am

      I’ll look around, but I don’t recall that recipe.

  • Reply
    Michael L Hart
    March 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Yes yes, Red stag is my new favorite sipping whiskey! Furthermore, I like the “attack”! It lets me kinow I aint sipping on a wine cooler.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2011 at 2:19 am

    I had a Red Stag and lemonade at Outback this past weekend (it was featured on their drink menu and I decided to try it) and it was absolutely delicious. Definitely getting a bottle of this the next time I stop by the ABC store.

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    July 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I honestly couldn’t stand Red Stag. Usually, I drink my Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey on the rocks with a dash of water, but this tasted way too…well like Black Cherry. It was reminiscent of cough syrup. The taste of bourbon is there but it’s severely maked by fruitiness. I imagine this liquor would be fine to make mix drinks with but I advise regular bourbon drinkers to avoid this drink.

  • Reply
    November 5, 2011 at 2:15 am

    Some of us like the taste of cough syrup!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I have two favorite drinks right now and this is one of them(the other is crown royal black). I personally like to mix my whiskey with coke and both of these drinks are perfect for that. I actually mix the crown royal black with vanilla coke and the Red Stag with cherry coke and there both quite good.

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    November 14, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I’m a big fan of good whiskey, but found this to be a syrupy, medicinal tasting waste of halfway decent whiskey. Good bourbon does not need added flavor, it should be good enough to savor straight or on the rocks.Should be real popular with high school or college kids who think PBR is good beer and jaeger is good liquor. Happy hangovers. Yuk.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    That review is absolutely ridiculous. ROFLMAO! Jim Beam clearly has its hands in your pockets.

    • Reply
      December 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      Not exactly sure what makes our impressions of a product “ridiculous” but I figured I’d entertain the question regardless. Especially considering you’ve just tried to insinuate that my impressions are being “paid for” by the company which, as you said, is also ridiculous. We don’t do “paid for sponsorship reviews” nor do we accept cash to give better reviews. Any sponsorships would be called out as such and would be part of our cocktail show Common Man Cocktails or as ad banners in the sidebar.

  • Reply
    Jim Frederick
    July 6, 2013 at 1:57 am

    The nastiest tasting bourbon I’ve ever had……tastes just like cough syrup….might be good in mixed drinks….but as a sippin’ bourbon it is horrible…..not even worth 5.00 a bottle…..ubless you have cold……………..

  • Reply
    October 14, 2013 at 4:51 am

    it is far to sweet, and every time a shot of it i get heartburn. im not prone to heartburn but this stuff is terrible and must be terrible for your stomach also.

    i would drink cheap straight bourbon over this stuff any day, red stag was just far to sweet and far to painful.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Do not buy this bourbon I can’t even believe it can be sold as such.This should be sold as cough syrup. Worst excuse for bourbon I’ve ever seen

  • Reply
    April 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I love black cherry stag because its a very smooth shooter whiskey, if the cherry flavor bothers folks then why buy it in the first place. U have to expect some cherry if that is what it states on the bottle. The comments about being cough syrup are ignorant because their is no such taste whatsoever. You cannot expect it to taste like regular jim . For christ sake it says cherry on the label. If you like flavor infused liquors then Jim beam black cherry is wonderful and before you know it the bottle is empty. Its kinda sweet so if that does not bother you than hell take a bottle home. Jim beam thanks for your whiskey its top shelf.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    I love Red Stag and came up with a great drink using..Red Stag Black Cherry, Kailua, Maraschino Cherry Juice and 1 Maraschino cherry. Some fresh mint for garnish is a nice added touch.

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