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I had my first Booker's Bourbon around Christmastime, 1996. It made a big impression on me then, as Booker's does on most people who taste it. Booker's was my first premium bourbon. When I joined Connosr in December 2010 there were very few reviews of American whiskeys posted. I posted the first Connosr review of Booker's and the first Connosr reviews of quite a few other standard repertoire bourbons and US ryes. I was impressed that these very common US products were virtually unknown to Connosr's international audience at that time. Times have changed. Nowadays there are quite a few Connosr reviews of US whiskeys, so I don't have the sense of civic urgency to post a lot of reviews these days.
This 25th Anniversary special edition is 10 years old, instead of the usual Booker's Small Batch age of between 6 and 8 years. The 25th Anniversary Booker's Bourbon is uncut and unfiltered, @ 65.4% ABV. The reviewed sample is from a newly opened bottle
Nose: this is probably the best Booker's nose I have encountered; extremely intense vanilla, extremely intense natural caramel, strong high-pitched refined sugar, noticeable alcohol greeting, some oak and maple flavours, oak tannins, and some baking spices from rye. Usually I drink whisk(e)y without water, but I like this Booker's nose even better with 2 drops of water. The flavours coalesce beautifully with a little water
Taste: the nose flavours translate well, with especially intense caramel in this 25th Anniversary batch, and the usually strong Booker's palatal alcohol greeting. Water emphasises caramel flavours even more, with some increase also in the strength of the rye baking spice flavours of cassia/cinnamon and cloves
Finish: very long, very intense, strong, and spicy
Balance: as is usually the case with bourbon, the balance here is between sweet and sour. What differentiates the 25th Anniversary edition of Booker's from batches of standard Booker's is a much stronger emphasis on natural caramel. The nose here is especially good, and this whiskey will greatly appeal to the nose-centric. If you like the increased caramel taste here you will like this special edition better than other batches of Booker's. While this 25th Anniversary edition is a nice and distinctive style, I do not see it as being generally superior to standard Booker's Small Batch in quality