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Baker’s is one of four expressions in the Beam—as in Jim Beam—Company’s “Small Batch” line of bourbons, the others being Basil Hayden’s, Booker’s, and Knob Creek. The mash bill is the Jim Beam recipe, and it is used for Booker’s and Knob Creek as well. Although there is considerable parroting of the phrase “Baker's Bourbon utilizes a special strain of jug yeast that has been in [the Beam] family for over 60 years”, I suspect the yeast strain is also shared among Baker’s, Booker’s, and Knob Creek, if not the entire Beam enterprise.
Baker’s is a classic ryed bourbon on the nose, leading off with crisp, dry rye, but moving quickly to incorporate vanilla, walnuts, butterscotch, and maple syrup.
The palate is dry and oaky, with rye, caramel, vanilla, and hints of cherry. Again, there is a distinct nuttiness, especially of walnuts and perhaps roasted peanuts. It is quite hot, a little too much so.
The body is fairly rich and creamy, though a little less than you might expect, given the oak overtones.
Overall, Baker’s is a good bourbon. It’s more interesting than many bourbons of similar price, and though it is admittedly unbalanced—the heat in particular is a bit of a nuisance (and I’m not one to shy away from a heat in my bourbon)—it is a fine dram.