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Booker’s Bourbon Batch 2018-02

by on September 13, 2018

Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Average Price

$65-75 US Retail


Great balance and relatively low alcohol heat despite the high proof makes this an easy sipper


Compared to some other batches, the flavors are a little light and lack the same "flare"

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Bottom Line

Worth Buying a Pour. While fairly run-of-the-mill compared to other Booker's batches, this is an excellent barrel proof bourbon worthy of your attention.


Another week, another Booker’s bourbon review as I get all of the gaps filled in to keep you up to date with what’s currently on store shelves!  The second batch release of 2018, dubbed “Backyard BBQ”, is currently on shelves pretty much everywhere alongside 2018-01, leftovers of 2017-04, and in some areas a brand new batch of 2018-03.  With multiple releases on various store shelves simultaneously, my goal here is to provide some direction on which batches are more worth your $65 over others.

As always,  has a wide range of details on every batch and I’d encourage you to check it out if you want to dig deeper into what goes into composing any individual batch.


  • Distilled, aged, and bottled by Beam-Suntory at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY
  • Mash bill of 77% corn, 13% rye, 10% malted barley
  • Age stated 6 years, 2 months, and 10 days (the age of the youngest barrel in the batch)
  • Bottled without filtration at barrel proof 128.8 (64.4% ABV)

Nose: Fresh cut cedar wood and leather lead into a sweet brown sugar note that mingles with caramel and vanilla.  It’s warm and inviting with further hints of of maple, butterscotch,  baking spices, and cinnamon.

Palate: Full bodied with big pops of leather and light fresh tobacco, alongside buttery sweet honey and caramel.  On the back end, these notes transition to faint vanilla blended with that signature Beam nuttiness – like peanuts and marzipan.

Finish: A pleasant warmth greets you in the finish with notes of peanuts, vanilla, and oak sugars leading the charge.  Light butterscotch and cedar play sweetly with the bold proof and warm burn before finishing with a simple corn and charred wood note that hearken back to the aptly naked Backyard BBQ moniker they placed on this bottle.

Buying Recommendation:  Worth Buying a pour.  This is a fun expression, but one that’s a bit light and leaves a little to be desired. It’s not as big or as hot as a typical Booker’s expression. Many bourbon drinkers may find that a good thing, and I would heartily recommend this to anyone that is curious about barrel proof bourbons, but nervous because of the heat. As a huge Booker’s fan, to me this batch is just lacking flare and even with it’s balance it simply doesn’t pop enough to be considered a truly amazing batch. It is a very easy drinking barrel proof bourbon, but this sits firmly in the middle of the pack when compared to other Booker’s. When compared to the rest of the new releases in 2018 though, don’t sleep on Backyard BBQ.  Average for the Booker’s line is still in the upper echelon of available barrel proof bourbons, and as you can see from my score, this competes with any available and affordable barrel proof bourbon out there!

The Rating Scale

At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92). This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys. Here is how the scale breaks down:

1-49: Varying degrees of bad
50-59: Average
60-69: Better than average
70-79: Solid/Good
80-89: Excellent
90+: Truly Exceptional

All thoughts and opinions expressed are original to the author of the review or article. We are in no way paid to express any specific opinion about any specific company or product.

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