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Booker's Small Batch Bourbon

Exceptional Booker's

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@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

5th Jul 2015


Booker's Small Batch Bourbon
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This review is part of a head to head between 2 high ABV whiskies, Booker’s batch 2015-01, and Amrut Single cask Bourbon finished single malt.

This batch has received some spectacular accolades on Connosr and elsewhere, and according to the Booker’s website is the first of 7 special releases this year. This was matured for 7 years, 2 months and 16 days and is bottled at barrel strength of 64.35% ABV. This particular bottle has been open for a couple of weeks and has been gassed each time.

Nose Neat:

Warm caramel and vanilla, yeast dough. Becomes sweeter with time in the glass. Brown Demerara sugar. After 5-10 minutes the nose has stopped developing, and it remains rich, inviting and refreshing. 22/25

Taste Neat:

Warm, rich. The first sip completely overwhelms the palate at 64%. The subsequent sips reveal caramel, brown sugar and vanilla almost to excess. I detect a little bit of cinnamon or some sort of baking spice. This is not a subtle whisky. It is bold and powerful. And GOOD! 23/25

The finish is dry, and to some extent unidimentional. It lasts a long time. 22/25


Not only do the nose and the palate complement each other, after a couple of sips the nose is enhanced. 23/25

What Booker’s lacks in complexity, it has in abundance flavour and boldness.

Because this is a head to head, I did add a few drops of water and let it sit 10 minutes:

Nose: Not much different.

Taste: Becomes hotter (some might call it spicier) but it’s not a good thing.

This is one that ought to be taken neat (my personal preference only).

Chocolate (with the neat spirit):

Trader Joe’s Milk: - awesome combination

Trader Joe’s Dark: - good fit, but different from the experience with Milk chocolate

TJ’s 85% dark chocolate: Doesn’t really add much.

Booker’s is a consistently excellent bourbon and this is an awesome batch.

I performed the sacrilegious act of mixing my remaining Amrut and Booker’s together (50:50). How would the bourbon-matured single malt react with powerful bourbon? My hypothesis is that Booker’s would overwhelm the Amrut.

After a few minutes:

The nose is more muted than the Booker’s alone, and has more sweetness, but is not as bright and fruity as the Amrut alone.

On tasting,surprisingly, the bourbon doesn’t overwhelm the malt, with a lot of the flavours coming through.

This is a vatting success.

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newreverie commented

Very interesting...I'm looking at my tasting notes for my future review and they don't match up at all with what you have.

Nose: Cherries, wood, barrel strength alcohol. Light orange candies, sour, and black pepper. Taste: A forest of oak and maple. Young leather, like a freshly cleaned saddle. Heat that threads the needle between burning and my preference for spices, Jalapeno perhaps. Finish: Lacks the sweet syrup mouthfeel I normally associate with booker's. A bit of a let down. I keep searching for sweet corn, but find none, just more wood and black pepper. Balance: The flavors all work together, but this isn't my kind of bourbon. It isn't even my kind of booker's.

That is what I have so far from my first poor of the bottle. I usually make it through 1/4 to 1/2 a bottle before I write a review. Maybe the wood will fade and some of the other flavors you've mentioned will come out.

8 years ago 0

paddockjudge commented

@newreverie, Cherries on the nose reminding me of Four Roses 125th. Ripe banana and vanilla. The cherry note faded after a week, and a half bottle.

I agree this whisky does not come across as being complex, but I think Fred and the Beam Team have drawn on their intricate knowledge of Booker's and married some fine barrels to create this well balanced and intensely sweet batch. I love the pepper, from mid-palate to finish. This batch is right in my wheelhouse - Pecan pie and raisin butter tarts. When I want something with less vanilla and less coma-inducing sweetness, I'll reach for a heavy measure of rye or peat.

This is a lot of fun, discovering the varying interpretations for this batch. I'm anxious to learn your thoughts on batch 2015 - 02.

@Nozinan, yes, I too recommend this batch of Booker's be drunk neat. I don't find any improvement when water is added.

Although availability is limited in my region, I continue to harvest as much of this batch as possible. Not your run of the mill Booker's. For me this is a very special batch.

8 years ago 0

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