Fred Noe

Booker’s Batch 2016-03 “Toogie’s Invitation” Bourbon Review

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.

Booker’s Bourbon “Noe Secret” Batch 2015-06 Review

Photo courtesy of Booker's.

Photo courtesy of Booker’s.

Batch #2015-06, or “Noe Secret”, is the last batch of Booker’s of 2015.  It’s also the third batch selected by the Booker’s Roundtable, a panel of journalist and spirits writers.  This batch is aged 6 years, 8 months and 7 days, making it one of the younger batches released this year.  It’s bottled at a hearty 128.1 proof.  Remember, Booker’s is uncut and unfiltered.  This is straight from the barrel.

Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe, son of late Booker Noe, explains this batch’s name:

“This batch’s name is a play on words, because Dad kept no secrets — in his life, or in the way he made his bourbon.  He used only the best ingredients available, and made me promise that after he retired, the recipe for Booker’s would never change — and it hasn’t. Booker’s Batch 2015-06 offers fans the robust, full-bodied whiskey profile they’ve come to know and love, just the way Dad liked it.”

The nose is full of vanilla, more so than the last batch of Booker’s I tasted, 2015-04.  It’s also not as grain forward as that batch.  Sweet corn, while still present, is just not as upfront.  Layers of caramel and barrel char build over a fresh red fruit note.  Sweet vanilla and light caramel present themselves upon entry.  Some oak, nuts and corn mash follow.  In a strange way this batch of Booker’s tastes closer to a high proof Jim Beam Black than it does the traditional Booker’s profile.  The finish is long, leaving you with some caramel corn and oak tannin.

Another win for Booker’s.  While not as fiery on entry as other batches, “Noe Secret” has a slight fruit note and it’s a welcome addition.  Pricing is in line with other batches – $59.99 for a 750ml bottle.  I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again – Booker’s is the best thing coming out of Jim Beam right now.  Recommended.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Beam Suntory.)

Booker’s Bourbon “Center Cut Batch” (2015-03) Review

Photo courtesy Beam Suntory

Photo courtesy Beam Suntory

Uncut and unfiltered – a great way to experience bourbon at its rawest.  Booker’s was one of the first, if not the first, barrel-proof bourbons on the modern market.  The third batch (2015-03) of Booker’s bourbon is known as “The Center Cut”.  This refers to Booker Noe’s favorite part of the rickhouse, where Booker’s bourbon is aged.  Fred Noe, Booker’s son & current Master Distiller at Jim Beam, called upon a team of whiskey experts, enthusiasts, and writers to help him select this batch.  This batch is aged for 7 years, 2 months and 28 days, and bottled at 127.2 proof.