Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

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.)

Old Hickory Straight & Blended Bourbon Reviews

The R.S. Lipman Company out of Nashville honors our seventh President, Andrew Jackson, with a pair of whiskies named after one of his nicknames – Old Hickory.  One is a straight bourbon ($39.99), while the other is a blended bourbon whiskey ($29.99).  Both are sourced from MGP in Indiana.  The company is very transparent, with loads of information available online.

The name “Old Hickory” has a long history dating back to pre-Prohibition.  R.S. Lipman  bought the trademark in 2013 and resurrected the label.  Even the Lipman family has a long history in the whiskey business, going back decades as merchants and distributors.

Let’s take a look at these releases.

Blended Bourbon Whiskey

Photo courtesy of RS Lipman Company.

Photo courtesy of RS Lipman Company.

Bottled at 80 proof, this release is a blend of 89% 4-year-old whiskey and 11% 2-year-old whiskey.  The nose itself is slightly light compared to the straight bourbon, with fresh corn dominating, followed by light brown sugar and a touch of oak.  Surprisingly, there’s a welcome spice on the entry.  It’s not much, but I’m glad it’s there.  Beyond that, there’s a light caramel and oak, but it seems a bit flat.  Some oak spice shows up for a medium finish. There’s nothing wrong with this whiskey, but nothing will jump out and grab your attention.  Between the two, stick with the straight bourbon.


Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Photo courtesy of RS Lipman Company.

Photo courtesy of RS Lipman Company.

This release is bottled at a classic 86 proof.  There’s no age statement, but there’s whiskey here aged between 4 – 7 years.  The barrel influence hasn’t completely wiped away the spirit’s character.  This oak is a bigger player on the nose, compared to this whiskey’s sibling.  Sweet corn and creamy caramel show up to the party, along with a slight musty note.  The higher proof makes a huge difference.  This bourbon is richer and carries flavors more robustly.  Oak spice, sweet corn mash and cinnamon all interact against a rich caramel background and spiced dough.  An odd herbal note shows up briefly.  The medium finish  carries semi-sweet and spicy notes.  The bourbon is a much better buy than the blended whiskey.  Makes for a great mixer, but can handle itself as a sipper.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Old Hickory.)

Blade and Bow Bourbon Whiskey Review

Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey_Bottle shot

Diageo is packing a one-two punch in the American Whiskey world.  Recently, the I.W. Harper brand was reintroduced to the United States after a 20 year absence.  Now, their newest brand, Blade and Bow, is their homage to the Stitzel-Weller Distillery.  Blade and Bow is entering the market in two forms:  a 22-year old, one-time release and a no age statement general release.  Today, we’re looking at the general release.