Booker’s Small Batch Review

Frederick Booker Noe II, grandson of Jim Beam, started working at his family’s distillery in Clermont, KY in 1951. During this time, Bourbon did not enjoy the rock star status it has today, despite the fact that a family as important as the Beams were quietly distilling and aging their barrels in the hot Kentucky rack houses. Right as Booker was ascending to the eventual title as Master Distiller, blended scotch was king, and soon after, clear spirits such as vodka and gin had their reign at the top. When Booker was given his own distillery in Boston, KY, he as any Master Distiller has full right to do, started tweaking, changing and hand crafting his bourbon to his own liking. Enough time passes and one could even determine where the honey barrels are in a certain rack house, which Booker knew full well, since he often personally bottled bourbon straight from those barrels for his own enjoyment. Booker liked his bourbon to be between 6-8 years old, unfiltered and uncut, straight from the barrel, just like it used to be.

Fast forward to 1987. Booker would often bottle his preferred juice to fellow employees at Beam as Christmas gifts. Word of this got around, and soon the company was facing intense demand to offer “Booker’s Bourbon” commercially. A year later Booker’s was launched as a small batch, premium bottling, among the first of its kind in the bourbon world, and is credited with helping revitalize the slumping Bourbon category.

Our particular bottling of Booker’s is 7.5 years old and clocks in at 64.25% ABV. The club sampled this classic blind, with no prior information. I figured it would be best to let Frederick Booker Noe II speak for himself on this one…

SWC Group Review

Nose- Vanilla pods and thick oak. Banana. Tea leaves and dark fruits (cherry). Slight nuttiness with almonds. Water brings out wood sugars and balances out aromas.

Taste- Big, thick mouth feel. Caramel, cherries/blackberries. Sweet and oaky. Water helps.

Finish- Medium length. Oaky sweet, barrel char. Turns to bitter chocolate, dried fruit, tea.

Comment- Classic interpretation. Nice, big flavor. Water required, though, to enjoy taste and tease out flavor complexity. A whiskey perfect for the proud bourbon man (and woman).

SWC Group Rating- 83/100

Avg. Retail – $60.00

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.

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