One of the many brands owned by Beam Inc., Booker’s is one of the four small batch Bourbons out of Beam’s Small Batch Collection. First introduced in 1992, Booker’s is named after none other than Master Distiller Booker Noe, grandson of Jim Beam and nephew to Jeremiah Beam, the person who showed Booker the ropes of the trade when he first joined the family business back in the early 1950s.
Said to have been developed initially as a holiday gift for his friends, Booker’s was so well-received that it was decided to make it available to Bourbon lovers everywhere. Like some other whiskies that follow age-old traditions, Booker’s is bottled straight-from-the-barrel, uncut and unfiltered, and that’s just how we like them.
Aged anywhere between 6 and 8 years, this uncut Bourbon is of course bottled at its natural proof, which typically falls anywhere between 121 and 127. Like any small batch whisk(e)y, it will vary from batch to batch, but like I’ve said before, that’s all part of the fun. I’ve been curious about trying this one more formally for a little while now, as my friend Phil over at Bargain Bourbon is a huge fan. While visiting the White Mountains in New Hampshire I came across a couple miniatures and thought it’d be a great opportunity to give it a go.
Price: Approx $50/750ml
ABV: 62.7% – Cask Strength / Non Chill-Filtered
Nose: Dense and rich with nicely balanced aromas – vanilla, baked apple, a bit of honey butter, light floral notes and cinnamon. With a little time more wood spice begins to appear and brings along hints of oaky almond toffee, apple pie now and toasted caramel.
Palate: It starts off with nice buttery toffee and vanilla, but it definitely brings some heat that builds around mid-palate. With that come dry oak, cinnamon, pepper and more of a caramelized oak sweetness. It is rich and coating with quite a bit of oak influence.
w/ Water: It brings quite a bit of heat on the palate, but neat, this one is a charmer on the nose. With water there’s a bit of sweetness and vanilla now engulfed by toasted oak and cedar. On the palate there are developing bitter oak tannins with toasted toffee, vanilla, hints of root beer and stale spices. This one didn’t take water all too well.
Finish: Long with that oaky toffee, pepper and wood spice.
Out of the couple different batches of Booker’s that I’ve tried thus far, these minis have been one of my favorite, which is unfortunate because now it’s all gone. The nose was wonderfully complex and rich while the palate fell slightly behind. I thought it would open up nicely with water, but it really started to fall apart. It packs a punch, but this one is best served neat.