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