In 2014, Jim Beam, a behemoth in American whiskey, and Suntory, an icon in Japanese whisky making, combined forces to create Beam Suntory. Now, five years later, we finally see the liquid fruits of this formidable union. This union of companies and countries has brought us Legent, a collaboration between Fred Noe & Shinji Fukuyo — with Noe leading distillation and Fukuyo leading blending and finishing.
Let’s start with the bottle itself.
Stunning, weighty, fits perfectly in hand, and chalk full of tiny details that showcase this project belongs to both Noe and Fukuyo. A cork stopper with wood top creates a distinct cork ‘pop’ when pulled. Underneath ‘two legends, one bourbon’ is inscribed. The seemingly haphazard black flourish contains outlines of the faces of both men, with their signatures displayed alongside. The style of the brand is shown on the front, the story of the brand is told on the back.
Next, let’s discuss what’s actually in the bottle.
Golden to the eye, caramel and spice to the nose, candied fruit and oak to the tongue, long and lingering to the mouth and throat. This is a bourbon with heat (high alcohol, which gives me the waiting to exhale feeling) because it’s 94 proof.
Legent is certainly different that most bourbons I’ve had, especially on the finish, likely from it’s aging and finishing.
Back to the bottle and how it’s made.
The statement at the bottom says, ‘Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Partially Finished in Wine & Sherry Casks’. Since there is no age statement we know it has to be aged for at least four years. We also know where it’s from, Kentucky. And, the Bourbon reference means it’s at least 51% corn and is aged in new, charred, American oak.
With all of that said, Legent is a little complicated to break-down as ‘partially finished’ leads one to believe it’s a blend (which it is) and ‘wine and sherry casks’ means Fukuyo was using finishing barrels not meant to drastically change the flavors or color of the original liquid as new barrels tend to only enhance what was already there. Complicated….just as a Japanese blend should be.