Legent Bourbon Review

Legent Bourbon Review

Our verdict

Like any traditional bourbon, Legent bourbon (pronounced lee-jent) starts with premium grains, i.e. corn, rye, and malted barley. It’s then aged in select barrels and casks. It is a collaboration between two of the world’s most revered whiskey legends – Fred Now and Shinji Fukuyo – and two unique styles of whiskey making. Fred Noe, the seventh-generation Master Distiller at Jim Beam, bourbon’s pioneering family, expertly distills the spirits. At the same time, Shinji Fukuyo, who’s the fifth-ever Chief Blender of Suntory, the founding house of Japanese whiskey, artfully blends them.

Overall rating

The longer review

This Kentucky bourbon has brought together more than 200 years of bourbon-making heritage and nearly 100 years of Japanese whiskey artistry.

Legent Bourbon History

Legent is a super-premium bourbon that brings together the best of the East and West in a way no other whiskey does. This unique innovation debuted on March 8, 2019. A first of its kind, Legent Bourbon is a collaboration between the two halves of Beam Suntory and is the first new standalone bourbon brand to come from the company in nearly 30 years. The Japanese company Suntory acquired Beam Global in a $16 billion deal in 2016. Over the years, Suntory has managed to help break Japanese whiskeys out of obscurity and propel them into international acclaim at the same time.

Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo traveled from Japan to Scotland and Kentucky to learn, study, and perfect the art of blending whiskey and distilling spirits. For Fukuyo, Legent Bourbon presented numerous unique challenges – after years of tasting, testing, and refining the recipe with Fred, Legent became yet another step in Shinji’s pursuit of mastery. Simply put, Legent is a bourbon that no one else could create.

Where is Legent Bourbon made?

Legent Bourbon is made in Kentucky by Beam Suntory. Beam Suntory is a mega-company created when Kentucky’s Jim Beam and Japan’s Suntory joined forces in 2014.

From grain to bottle, Beam Suntory uses only the finest ingredients and materials. The role of a master blender in this and similar distilleries is to blend different whiskeys to create fascinating flavors.

legent bourbon cocktail

How is Legent Bourbon Made?

Legent Bourbon is made using grains, calcium-rich limestone water, and newly charred white oak barrels. The aged Kentucky Straight Bourbon is rested in the summer months to gain the spice and fruity undertones from the wine-soaked barrels. This gives the bourbon a smooth finish.

Straight bourbon is combined with bourbon finished in red wine casks and sherry casks which was then agitated in tanks after marrying for several weeks before finally being bottled at 94 proof. The straight bourbon is aged for at least four years while the other parcels are finished for one extra year in California red wine casks and approximately two years in sherry casks, respectively. Fukuyo then blends all these spirits.

Legent Bourbon Whiskey Variations

Legent Bourbon is a blend of three Jim Beam bourbons, two of which are secondary cask finished. As previously mentioned, it’s a blend of sherry, red wine, and white new oak barrel finishes. Here’s a breakdown of their tastes:

  • Sherry cask spirit – This tends to be spicier with raisin and dried fruit flavors
  • French oak red wine cask spirit – This tends to have more mild and fruity flavors
  • Straight bourbon – This tends to have more traditional oak, caramel, and vanilla flavors

Unfortunately, there are no Legent Bourbon variations. There needs to be more fun collaboration of the east meets west in bottle form.

legent bourbon bottle and glass on table

Tasting notes.

What to expect

A first-of-its-kind, Legent Bourbon is made using a well-thought-out recipe that results in a perfectly balanced yet complex and layered whiskey that is truly extraordinary. Each phase of the bourbon highlights a different one of its components.

This bourbon isn’t particularly rich or overly sophisticated, but it’s easily approachable and genuinely enjoyable with a wonderful character.

1. Smell

The nose smacks you with the wine influences straight off – fruity with a hint of grapes and red wine. There are layers of lovely aromas of spice, brown sugar, dried fruits, and fruity undertones with some nuttiness.

2. Color

Legent Bourbon features a clear golden undertone with a rich, deep copper color like a Japanese whiskey.

3. Taste

The oak and sherry finish plays a huge role in the flavors than the corn. Legent Bourbon features staple bourbon characteristics when it comes to taste. It has candy corn sweetness and vanilla balanced just a little with a teaspoon of mild spiciness. To top all that is a little oak from all the cask finishes.

legent bourbon and ice on glasses

How to drink Legent Bourbon

Legent Bourbon is sweet, fruity, and sippable, and every sip is worth savoring and sharing. This highly versatile bourbon may be enjoyed neat, on ice, or as part of a bourbon cocktail.

1. Neat

Because this is a blended bourbon, it has unique flavors that make it perfect for enjoying neat. When you do this, you’ll notice distinctive flavors across your palate in waves, unlike any bourbon you’ve ever tasted.

2. On the rocks

There’s no doubt that Legent is perfectly balanced, rounded, and layered. Its complex flavor profile and unique aromas get opened up when you add a few chilled rock (or ice cubes) to your bourbon.

3. In cocktails

Legent Bourbon is the perfect articulation of the fantastic things that can be achieved when two great cultures come together as one, bringing true innovation to the world. In this same spirit, you can summon the ‘Fukuyo award-winning blending gods’ as you try to experiment with different mixers.

Expect results that aren’t in-your-face bold. Instead of stirring to dilute like you usually would to chill an old-fashioned cocktail, place Legent Bourbon cocktails in the fridge to maintain their fuller flavor.

legent bourbon bottle and glasses

The Whiskey Rocks verdict.

Is it good?

If nothing else, the international collaboration makes Legent Bourbon a little piece of history that’s worth trying.
If you’re a person who’s into superior whiskey, then the richness and sturdy body make Legent Bourbon a suitable choice for you. Again, the price point is fantastic for premium craftsmanship featuring a true bourbon with a Japanese twist.

Legent Bourbon isn’t for you if you prefer straight Kentucky bourbons, as this particular one uses ex-wine and ex-sherry casks, which tends to change it into a whiskey specialty. We all know that straight bourbon should only touch new charred oak barrels.

Ashleigh Cain

Ashleigh is a key part of the editorial team at Whiskey Rocks. You'll often find her either writing educational articles or reviewing the latest artisan whiskeys. Her favorite drink? Ashleigh loves smokey scotches like Laphroaig, but you'll also often find her with an old fashioned in hand.

Pepperjam Verification

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