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Frederick Booker Noe II, 1929-2004, known simply as Booker, was Jim Beam's grandson and master distiller at Jim Beam for more than 40 years. During his lifetime, he was widely regarded within the trade as the single most knowledgable authority on bourbon whiskey production. In 1987 Booker Noe introduced Booker's, the first Beam small batch bourbon product, as a private offering. In 1992 Booker's was offered to the public for the first time. Booker's is unfiltered and undiluted whiskey straight from the barrel, just the way Booker himself preferred his whiskey. During his lifetime Booker himself is said to have selected all of the barrels for his whiskey himself. Booker's bourbon is aged between 6 and 8 years, and shares the standard Beam medium rye mashbill with the Jim Beam line of bourbons and Baker's small batch bourbon. Alcohol content for Booker's Small Batch runs between 121 and 130 proof. The review sample is from batch # C00-A-20, aged 6 yrs 4 mos, and is 124 proof
Nose: moderate intensity, sweet, oaky, a lot of spice, and some vanilla and caramel
Taste: Firewater! Giant flavour and giant alcohol greeting. The spice is huge, as are the various flavours of oak
Finish: long intense finish, with spice, oak, vanilla and caramel remaining together
Balance: This is whiskey that makes a very big impression. Those who like really big flavours and don't mind a big alcohol greeting will be favourably impressed. Those who are alcohol sensitive may have trouble with this one. Like it or hate it this is a whiskey which will rarely leave anyone indifferent. I like this a lot, but it is not for everybody. Jim Murray rated a different batch 93/100 in his 2011 Whisky Bible, and commented: "... a combative bourbon with all of its personality at full volume. Striking stuff."