Baker’s 7 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon is a whiskey that took me years to figure out. Liking a dram your first time seems almost too easy, too…lazy, maybe? The idea that multiple tastings with patience and contemplation, which are eventually rewarded with enlightenment, is much more fun. Some whiskies just take time to get, and Baker’s is one those for me. From the beginning of this little ding dang whiskey hobby the various reviews smattered about of Baker’s were confusing at best. Some absolutely loved it whilst others wrote of odd flavor combinations despite its rather classic bourbon make-up. Baker’s shares a mash bill with three other bourbons of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection, yet its uniqueness is quite clear. Let’s talk about why…
Baker’s is a 7 year old straight bourbon bottled at a strong 53.5% ABV and is distilled at the Clermont, KY facility. Named in honor of Baker Beam, a daytime distiller at Clermont until his retirement and great nephew of Jim Beam himself, Baker’s is blended from barrels pulled from the top floors of the rick houses. In Kentucky, the barrels up there experience the extremes of the already intense aging environment, and as a result, Baker’s possesses an intensity of oak development not found in Knob Creek, Booker’s or Basil Haydens. Instead of vanilla bean and warm toffee you get smoked meat and old leather. This isn’t an old soul of a bourbon but more like a Viking…and it only took me a few years to figure that out. Viking. I like that.
Nose- Concentrated oak roughness. Rye forward. Peach, blackberry. Leathery but in time a layer underneath of vanilla/toffee. Hmmm.
Taste- Very fruity. Creamy. Corn. Cognac and spice.
Finish- Big. Spicy pepper kick. Oak char, cedar, toasted sugar.
Comments- Confusing. Nose was underwhelming but taste was decent. Club was a tad divided on this one. Some found it enjoyable, others found it odd given its rather orthodox makeup. Dare I say oddball, but decent enough. However, price is a detriment to repeat purchases.
SWC Rating- 81/100
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