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In 1988, Booker Noe (Jim Beam’s grandson) introduced Booker’s as a private offering. It was “uncut, straight from the barrel”, which is how whiskey was distributed before the days of bottling, when customers would bring jugs to the distillery and got them filled straight from the barrel. In 1992, Booker’s was publicly launched as the first representative of Jim Beam’s small batch Bourbon collection that also includes Baker’s, Basil Hayden’s and Knob Creek. The review looks at the second Booker’s batch of 2015 that was made up of barrels that were aged from January 2007 to February 2008.
The nose is lush and nutty, with just a light alcoholic burn at the very beginning. I got distinct flavours of rye upfront, followed by caramel, fudge, vanilla, and marzipan. Later on there were hints of oranges and cedar wood.
The palate is medium-bodied and spicy. Even more than on the nose there is plenty of caramel, followed by dark fruits (raisins and cherries), liquorice, vanilla and a hint of tobacco. A nice wood spice note chimes in right at the end, not overbearing in any way but still quite noticeable.
The finish is long and warming. Wood spice and tobacco flavours last to the very end.
There always is a bottle of Booker’s in my whisk(e)y cabinet. I have been drinking Booker’s for a number of years but only now got round to write a review. It probably is my favourite everyday Bourbon and I do love the intensity of the flavours at play. The alcohol impact is big, given that we speak of proof of between 121 and 130, however it usually is beautifully integrated and with this batch I was not even ready to call the palate “full-bodied”. In other words, the alcohol is there and gives the flavour profile a lift but it is hardly ever overbearing. This is the good stuff right there.