Booker Noe

Review: Booker’s Bourbon “Teresa’s Batch” 2019-01

With the first batch of 2019, Booker’s pays tribute to longtime Jim Beam employee Teresa Wittemer. More than 30 years ago, late Master Distiller Booker Noe hired Wittemer on the spot after a short 15-minute interview. She spent most of her career in Quality Control, helping Booker Noe and his son, current Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe, mingle barrels together to create batches of Booker’s bourbon.

Teresa’s Batch is 6 years, 3 months, and a day old. Barrels pulled for this batch come from three production dates and nine locations in four different warehouses:

  • 2% – 2nd floor of 7-story warehouse 5
  • 1% – 4th floor of 7-story warehouse 5
  • 10% – 6th floor of 9-story warehouse D
  • 3% – 4th floor of 9-story warehouse E
  • 25% – 5th floor of 9-story warehouse E
  • 25% – 6th floor of 9-story warehouse E
  • 28% – 5th floor of 9-story warehouse J
  • 3% – 6th floor of 9-story warehouse J
  • 3% – 8th floor of 9-story warehouse J

This batch is bottled uncut and unfiltered at 125.9 proof, or 62.95% ABV.

On the nose, hints of creamy peanut butter and sweet buttered popcorn rise out of the glass alongside a touch of vanilla and oak. Taste-wise, Booker’s signature vanilla note kicks things off, closely followed by a slightly dominant roasted peanut note, as well as brown sugar, dark fruit, and grilled corn-on-the-cob. Some oak spice and barrel char ramp up on the back palate. The finish is long and a slightly spicy.

There is usually a light, distinct peanut note found in a lot of Jim Beam products. In this batch of Booker’s, that note seems to be a major player instead of a supporting character. It throws the flavors off balance, which is highly unusual for Booker’s. “Teresa’s Batch” isn’t bad in and of itself, but when compared to previous batches of Booker’s, it falls short. If you’re looking for classic Booker’s, look elsewhere. 7/10

Bookersbourbon.com

Thanks to Booker’s for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Booker’s Bourbon Batch 2018-03 “Kentucky Chew”

Booker’s just released their third batch of 2018, aptly titled “Kentucky Chew.” The uncut and unfiltered bourbon from Jim Beam is my favorite of their regular production whiskies.

Kentucky Chew refers to how late Beam Master Distiller Booker Noe tasted his whiskey. It involves drawing a little air by smacking your lips after swirling the whiskey around your mouth. If you’ve ever tasted whiskey with current Master Distiller Fred Noe, you’ve witnessed the Kentucky Chew.

Booker’s Kentucky Chew is aged 6 years, 4 months, and 12 days, and bottled at 126.7 proof. The brand released some additional info about this batch:

This batch is made up of barrels from two production dates aged in seven different locations within four warehouses. The breakdown of the barrel locations is as follows:

  • 29% from warehouse D, floor 4

  • 42% from warehouse D, floor 6

  • 8% from warehouse I, floor 4

  • 8% from warehouse I, floor 7

  • 6% from warehouse J, floor 6

  • 2% from warehouse J, floor 7

  • 5% from warehouse N, floor 5 (7 story warehouse)

The nose carries hints of coffee cake, kettle corn, and maraschino cherries. A blast of brown sugar kicks off this unusually sweet batch of Booker’s. It is joined by vanilla pudding, wood spice, and barrel char. There’s a jolt of fruitiness on the backend. The finish is not as long as recent batches of Booker’s and retains some of the sweetness of the nose and palate.

Generally speaking, every batch of Booker’s is going to be slightly different. This new one takes the largest departure in flavor profile while still remaining truly Booker’s through and through. The sweetness is mainly provided by the typical Booker’s vanilla as well as some welcome fruitiness. I don’t mind changes this “drastic” between batches so long as 1) they are delicious, and 2) the Booker’s DNA remains. As for this batch, it comes with a solid recommendation. 8/10

Bookersbourbon.com

Thanks to Booker’s for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Booker’s Bourbon Batch 2018-02 (Backyard BBQ)

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Summertime is synonymous with BBQ.  Former Jim Beam Master Distiller Booker Noe used to hold giant BBQs at his Bardstown, KY house, dubbing them “bourbon-ques.”  With that in mind, the second batch of Booker’s for 2018 is aptly named “Backyard BBQ.”

The barrel strength bourbon comes in at 64.4% ABV, or 128.8 proof.  The youngest barrels in the batch are 6 years, 2 months, and 10 days old.  Barrels were pulled from six locations in three different 9-story warehouses, broken down as follows:

  • 4% from warehouse E, 4th floor
  • 29% from warehouse E, 5th floor
  • 10% from warehouse E, 7th floor
  • 8% from warehouse J, 5th floor
  • 32% from warehouse I, 6th floor
  • 17% from warehouse I, 7th floor

I love the disclosure of this kind of information, especially from a company as large as Beam-Suntory.  But the important thing is how the whiskey tastes…

On the nose, a slight departure from the “classic” Booker’s profile finds maple syrup instead of vanilla as the dominant aroma.  This is still Booker’s through and through, with hints of vanilla, toasted oak, peanut butter and a touch of fresh herbs.  Slightly overcooked caramel kicks things off on the front palate, followed closely by vanilla custard and some spice. This is the point where that high proof shows its cards – a full mouthfeel and a bit of a kick.  You’re definitely in flavor town here (a Guy Fieri reference – was that really necessary?). The mid-palate brings hints of grilled corn and cigar box, with cedar shavings following.  The long finish is chest-warming, which is always welcome.  Acid reflux be damned!  Bittersweet caramel and barrel char linger.

This batch of Booker’s slightly leans towards the sweet side compared to previous batches.  It’s a welcome quality knowing it still fits under the brand’s flavor profile.  “Backyard BBQ” featured less of a corn note and more caramels, meaning it could pair nicely with BBQ ribs, or a smoked brisket, perhaps.  All in all, it’s tasty – and I wouldn’t expect anything else from Booker’s. 8/10

Bookersbourbon.com

Thanks to Booker’s Bourbon for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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