Booker’s

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.

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Review: Booker’s Bourbon 2018-01 (Kathleen’s Batch)

The first of four 2018 batches of Booker’s is hitting shelves now. Batch 2018-01, also known as “Kathleen’s Batch” is a Booker’s Roundtable selection, picked with the help of longtime Beam employee Kathleen DiBenedetto. She helped with the launch of the Jim Beam Small Batch Collection with Booker Noe and was also the collection’s first brand manager. This bourbon’s namesake took DiBenedetto under his wings and made her learn every step of the bourbon-making process. In 2015, she was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. Clearly, DiBenedetto is no stranger to whiskey.

Now for this particulars of this batch. Kathleen’s Batch is six years, three months, and 14 days old. Those are the youngest barrels in the batch. Barrels come from five production dates and culled from three warehouses. As always, Booker’s is uncut and unfiltered.

Like every batch of Booker’s before it, the nose here is fantastic. Buttered sweet corn bread and maple syrup give way to vanilla and aromatic toasted oak. The palate is equally inviting. Brown sugar and pecan-topped coffee cake kick things off followed by waves of dried fruit, oak spice, and that Booker’s trademark vanilla. A touch of bittersweet barrel char hit the back palate along with medium roast coffee beans. The long, warming finish is sweet and slightly dry, with a lingering rich caramel and sweet oak note.

Damn, this is good. This batch of Booker’s comes across as richer and a bit sweeter than previous batches of late. The Booker’s Roundtable picked a wonderful batch that is still “Booker’s” in every sense while offering something extra. Booker’s is a batched product. BUT…here it’s like if all Booker’s was a single barrel product and this particular batch was a honey barrel. It’s that good. This one will be hard to beat. Wow. 9/10

Bookersbourbon.com

Thanks to Beam Suntory for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Booker’s Bourbon “Sip Awhile” Batch 2017-04 Review

Making its way to shelves in time for the holiday season, Booker’s “Sip Awhile” marks the brand’s last batch of 2017. “Sip Awhile” refers to the Noe family’s insistence of having a good time while sipping on a glass of bourbon. The late Booker Noe started bottling honey barrels from the center floors of his favorite warehouses and gifting bottles to friends during the holidays. Eventually, this barrel proof bourbon became known as Booker’s bourbon.

“Sip Awhile” is bottled at a cask strength of 64.05% ABV, or 128.1 proof. The youngest barrels in the batch are 6 years, 8 months, and 14 days old. Barrels from four different production dates and three different warehouses comprise the batch.

I look at my glass of Booker’s and think, “Look at those legs!” The nose carries hints of cinnamon rolls, cedar plank, vanilla and roasted almonds. It carries with it a slightly oily and full-bodied mouthfeel. More than I remember for the last couple of batches. The palate is where Booker’s really comes to life. Initial waves of caramel and spice give way to big vanilla and barrel char. There’s a mild oak grip on the back of the palate. The long, chest-warming finish features spiced caramel, dark chocolate and sun-cured tobacco.

I haven’t enjoyed a batch of Booker’s like this since the beginning of the year with Batch 2017-01 (Tommy’s Batch). I got less of that roasted sweet corn and a bit more complexity than the last couple of releases, giving “Sip Awhile” a very slight shift in the Booker’s flavor profile. What a wonderful way to end the year. Recommended! 8.5/10

Bookersbourbon.com

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