Earlier this year, I was asked to take part in the Booker’s Roundtable selection of the next batch of Booker’s. That batch, 2017-01, or “Tommy’s Batch”, is now upon us. Though I took part in selecting this batch, I’ll do my best to be as impartial as I can be with this post.
This batch is named after Tommy Crume, a longtime distillery who worked closely with the late Booker Noe. Jim Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe said the following about Tommy:
“I’m proud to share the first of four batches in the Booker’s® Bourbon 2017 Batch Collection, Batch 2017-01, also called Booker’s “Tommy’s Batch.” I’m especially pleased to release this special batch as our first, as it is named in tribute to Tommy Crume, who started his career at the distillery as a young man and worked closely alongside Dad for decades. They spent so much time together that we used to joke that he was like a second son to Dad!
Over all those years, Tommy learned just how Dad liked things to be done around the distillery, especially when it came to his namesake bourbon and eventually worked his way up to Distillery Manager at the Clermont, Ky. plant, helping to make sure that everything continued to run just the way Dad would have wanted.
After almost 30 years with us, Tommy retired in 2016 and I know Dad would be honored to name the first batch of 2017 after his dear friend. I hope you’ll join me in raising a glass of Booker’s “Tommy’s Batch” in celebration of Dad’s legacy and Tommy’s, too.”
As for the bourbon, it’s a blend of whiskies from two production dates (January 2009 & July 2010) – making the youngest whiskey in the batch 6 years, 4 months, and 6 days old. Barrels were pulled from the 6th and 7th floor of three warehouses. It was a small batch (for Jim Beam, anyway), with 335 barrels comprising this release. Like all batches of Booker’s, this is bottled at barrel proof (128.5). Also, it’s the first to be priced between $69.99 – $74.99, though a friend of mine saw it on a shelf for $54. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know my thoughts on the price increase. Agree or disagree, we all have an opinion.
The nose is classic Booker’s – big and robust, with hints of vanilla, molasses, charred oak, kettle corn and herbs. Taste-wise, right past that intital high octane burn, find toasted sweet corn and light brown sugar, developing into some cigar box, vanilla and toasted almonds. A hint of chocolate covered oranges appears late-palate, along with a touch of fresh basil. The finish is long and warming. Something I’ve come to expect from Booker’s. Lingering notes of honey nut cereal, molasses, and barrel char make you want to reach for another sip.
Tommy’s Batch is another fantastic release of Booker’s. It’s as good or slightly better than recent batches. The faint ‘chocolate-covered oranges’ note is a welcome surprise. I know the price increase is a touchy subject with many, and we all have our opinions. Price aside, this new batch is classic “Booker’s,” and comes with my recommendation. 9/10
Thanks to Booker’s for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.