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Booker's True Barrel Bourbon (Batch 2017-01E)

Chew Bacca

4 388

@RianCReview by @RianC

15th Jan 2019


Booker's True Barrel Bourbon (Batch 2017-01E)
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

A ‘small-batch’, cask-strength, un-chillfiltered bourbon from Jim Beam. This is as close to tasting a bourbon from the cask as I’m likely to get, which is quite exciting, so here goes. Bottles been open three weeks with about a fifth gone.

Nose – Solventy notes but it’s not harsh or nippy. Caramel, tinned tobacco, touch leather, dark sour cherries. Oak, on the fresher side, with some walnuts. Big. Water – more oak and some floral notes (I’m thinking ‘purple’ flowers – OK, I’m no Alan Titchmarsh, more Alan Partridge ;)

Taste – intense, big hit of Parma Violet sweets, perfumed, more caramel. Surprisingly soft for the abv with a delightfully chewy mouthfeel. Water – less intense but more of the same really.

Finish – Not that long at all really. Hard dark toffee (or bonfire toffee for those UK bound), sour cherry and a little drying oak to finish off. Water – more oak driven and peppery.

I think this is better neat but it has to be taken slowly – this is a beast at almost 63% let’s not forget. Water adds a little but nothing that really improves the experience.

I do like this and it’s one I’ve wanted to try for a while but it seems a little, how can I put this, one dimensional, maybe? All the flavours are there, and I really am appreciating tasting bourbon for the first time in its completely natural state, but it’s as if all the notes sing without ever really coming together i.e. it lacks a certain complexity. That’s fine and I’m digging this for what it is but it just falls short of the higher marks for me. Now, where can I find a Baker’s?

Related Booker's reviews


Nozinan commented

Booker's in general is an excellent bourbon. It does have extreme batch variation but most of the batches have been very tasty (my favourites are the first one I tried and the 2015-1).

Sadly, too many batches come out for me to taste them all. If they came out with 100 cc bottles of all the batches in a year that would be great!

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

Victor commented

@RianC thanks for your review. Batches of Booker's do vary quite a bit one from another. Many are fabulous, some good, some not so good.

I'll bet that if you still have this bottle a year from now that you will like it better than you do today. Make a point of putting some aside to taste at 6, 12, 18, 24 months. I think that you will find the exercise very interesting.

I have long observed the range of flavours available in Booker's to be usually thinner than it is in longer aged bourbons. Booker's may be complex, or it may not be very complex. It's forte is power. It is good to understand it for what it is. When you buy a bottle of Booker's you expect power. You may or may not also get complexity. Even if your batch of Booker's is not very complex, some other batches of Booker's are. Booker's is a good example of a whiskey for which it is very wise to shop the individual batches.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@Victor - I agree that the power is appealing in and of itself here. Complex or not, this is still good bourbon.

I will heed your advice and put a small sample away for a while then and see how it holds up.

5 years ago 0