Robust and full flavored from start to finish. The signature Beam sweet nuttiness is in full effect.
The palate is hot and a tad messy, lacking balance. Not as complex as other batches, as the nuttiness overwhelms the more subtle flavors.
This is now the 3rd batch of Booker’s we have reviewed here, and for it we are going to step back in time a couple batches from the previous batch reviewed, “Kathleen’s Batch”, which was the first quarterly release of 2018. My reason for this is simple: there’s still a lot of Batch 2017-03 on the shelves, but now it is mingled in with remnants of 2017-04 and 2018-01, as well as the new 2nd quarter of 2018 release. So my goal here is to help you make an informed decision on whether you should snag one of the remaining bottles of this past release or grab one of the new batches instead.
Booker’s bourbon is a premium small batch, unfiltered, barrel proof bourbon created by the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. In other words, Booker’s is as close as you will get to tasting the bourbon straight out of the honey barrels in Beam’s warehouses. Beam-Suntory also has an excellent website dedicated entirely to Booker’s Bourbon, which contains the history of the brand as well as intricate details of each batch.
This batch, dubbed the “Front Porch Batch” was created from barrels spanning 7 different production dates and aged across 6 different locations within 3 different warehouses. Check out the Booker’s website (linked above) for more in depth information on this. Check out the bottling notes below for the rest of the specs for this batch.
- Distilled from Beam’s standard bourbon mash bill of 77% corn, 13% rye, and 10% malted barley
- The youngest whiskey in the batch was aged 6 years, 5 months, and 25 days
- Bottled unfiltered and undiluted at 62.95% ABV (125.9 Proof)
Nose: Heavy and bold, but also saturated by ethanol from the high proof. Sweet charred oak, robust tobacco, leather and nuts make up the bulk of the aroma, with some more subtler notes of caramel and vanilla that are partially blanketed by the ethanol burn.
Palate: Full and chewy with loads of Beam’s signature nuttiness and spice leading the way. Beyond these are a big oak presence, bits of caramel, and faint notes of vanilla and tobacco. The flavors here are not incredibly well-balanced, and this dram really needs a long rest in the glass to let off some ethanol heat and open up.
Finish: The medium-length finish is equal parts nutty and oaky with bits of caramel, smooth leather, and tobacco around the edges. It fades out sweet and spicy.
Buying Recommendation: Worth buying a pour. At this point, you don’t need to convince me that Booker’s is a excellent bourbon; I love the stuff. Beam’s uniquely nutty profile speaks to me. Nonetheless, my goal is always to do an objective tasting. The fact is that this batch is a bit messy, unbalanced, and hot if you don’t give it some water or a long rest, and while that bold nuttiness is great, in this batch it covers up a few subtleties that are better expressed in other batches. At the premium price that these batches sell for nowadays, these are important things to consider. This is a great whiskey – as the score attests to – but it sits middle of the pack in the rankings of the 9 different batches of Booker’s that I’ve been lucky enough to try. Booker’s has become a juggernaut; you can count on getting a high quality bourbon each batch, but some certainly have more to offer than others.