Booker’s Bourbon – Batch 2015-04 “Oven Buster” Review

Phot courtesy Jim Beam

Booker’s is one of my favorite whiskies from Jim Beam.  Better yet, it’s one of my favorite barrel-proof bourbons, period.  The fourth batch of Booker’s, “Oven Buster”, is here.  Picked from a roundtable of whiskey writers and experts, batch 2015-04 is also the year’s youngest release.  This one is aged 6.5 years and arrives at a respectable 127 proof.

The name “Oven Buster” comes with a tale that could be complete marketing jibber-jabber, but we eat it up nonetheless.  From the press release:

“I’ve always been fond of cooking with bourbon,” said Annis Wickham Noe, wife of Booker and mother of Fred. “Years ago, as I was preparing a pork roast, I mistakenly reached for a bottle of my husband’s namesake bourbon to pour over the roast. The oven sparked from the bourbon’s high proof and the door flew open — that’s how the Oven Buster nickname was born!”

On the nose, I get sweet corn mash and vanilla extract.  There’s also a bit of creamy caramel, nuttiness and a nice wash of oak.  Taste-wise, it’s typical Booker’s – big hits of vanilla, corn, oak and caramel.  On this release, however, a grainy note is a bit more prominent.  This doesn’t really affect the quality of the bourbon.  Given it’s high proof, Booker’s has a rich and satisfying texture.  The same can be said for the finish.  It’s long, warm and reminds me of toffee-covered popcorn, like Cracker Jack.

The corn grain note really shines here, more than the other recent Booker’s releases.  It makes this one’s uniqueness stand out a little more.  If you’re a fan of Booker’s, nothing here will blow your mind.  I don’t think that’s what Jim Beam is setting out to do.  “Oven Buster” stays true to the Booker’s flavor profile, with only the slightest variation.  This should be available now at a liquor store near you for an SRP of $59.99.  Recommended.


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