One of my favorite things is getting a sample of a new batch of Booker’s. I’m what’s referred to online as a “Booker’s Fanboy.” It means I love Booker’s bourbon. I’ve repeatedly stated it’s my favorite regular release from Jim Beam. Booker’s is released in batches several times a year. Though all batches pretty much smell and taste like Booker’s should, there are subtle variations from batch to batch.
The third batch of Booker’s bourbon of 2016 is called “Toogie’s Invitation”. Marilyn “Toogie” Dick was a lifelong friend of Booker Noe, helping him select one of the first batches of Booker’s at the Noe kitchen table. This close friendship found Toogie, Booker and his wife, Annis, traveling the world together. She was welcome at the Noe house anytime. This batch is also the first Booker’s Roundtable selection of 2016, one that even found Toogie as part of that selection group.
Even though it’s all marketing, I do like that the story here is true. I also like that Toogie took part in the selection of this batch. There’s a bit of authenticity found here that’s missing in other brands’ marketing.
This batch is aged 6 years, 4 months and 4 days at bottled at 129 proof. Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe says barrels that make up this batch came from six different rack houses. As always, Booker’s is presented uncut and unfiltered. If you’ve never had a barrel strength bourbon, Booker’s is a good place to start.
Present is an expected robust nose, featuring vanilla bean, caramel corn, dried basil and toasted oak. Flavors pretty much reflect what’s found in the nose. Sweet corn, barrel char, cinnamon and burnt sugar over a bed of vanilla. A touch of herb appears mid-palate. The finish is long and warm, with notes of cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean, along with a strange bitterness that wears away quickly.
This batch is pretty standard for Booker’s, which is good enough in and of itself. However, I feel the need to compare to previous batches, and what stands out here is the light herbal note and that slight bitterness on the finish. It’s not off putting in the least. Quite the opposite is true. It’s what makes this batch just a touch different and all the more interesting. Nicely done.
Thanks to Jim Beam and Booker’s for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.