I am ashamed and hurt to say that up until these reviews, I had never had Booker’s. Shock and Awe should be creeping across your face. An angry comment should be typed. No home should be safe from your totally not misplaced anger.
We good? Okay. So the reason I never had it is I have a lot of whiskies to review and ended up with 4 different batches.
But maybe we should start at the start: This is the Internet, and you’re reading English.
Alright, let’s skip ahead.
Jim Beam is a company that makes Bourbon.
Skip ahead a little more TOModera.
Alright. So part of Beam’s lineup of Bourbon is what they call the “Small Batch Bourbon Collection”. And as we know, Collections have little to do with one another, and Small Batch just means it says Small Batch on the Label.
So this is their lesser known “Bourbons”. Includes Basil’s, Baker’s, and the not-B starting named one, Knob Creek. Thank Fuck there’s a B in Knob though, right?
Anyway, Booker’s is the darling of the collection. Or at least it is to me, just based on what it is. Aged 6-8 years, bottled at cask strength, and un-cut. That’s ballsy in this day and age.
So it comes out once a year and people trade their kids for it, right? NOPE. CHUCK TESTA!
Wait, wrong Meme.
But yeah, it’s brought out 6 times a year. Individual batches, all of which have different ages. But does the profile change that much? The mashbill is the same.
That’s what I want to find out today. And by that, I mean write out today. Well, not really, as I pre-write this. But whatever. You’re finding it out now. Unless you already knew.
None the less, recently Booker’s has named each batch in fun and exciting ways. Unfortunately I only have one of them. So you’re screwed for that too.
You’ll notice some have a Batch that has the year and Month. And then one has a whole bunch of random code. From what I’ve read, that’s the difference between a Roundtable (date) and a non-Roundtable (gobbledygook).
Alright, let’s see how these all taste, shall we?
Age: 7 years
Colour: 10YR 6/8
Nose: Brown sugar, oak, banana bread, cashew, caramel, cinnamon, cooked peaches
Initially this has a big brown sugar and oak nose to it. I’m not kidding, it’s all I can smell for the first part of the morning.
Doesn’t help my coworker is currently eating a giant bowl of cinnamon oatmeal with fake brown sugar flavouring. Luckily I wrote these a few days ago.
As time goes on, this has a lot more flavours come out. Like a really well made banana bread.
Taste: More cooked peaches, olive oil, pecan, agave syrup
Simpler taste than the nose here. Really, really good mouth-feel. Someone’s been eating their pineapple.
I’m finding each of the individual flavours is really well done. Reminds me of a well made Pecan Pie… made for diabetics, I guess… given the agave.
Finish: Salt, dry, oats, saffron, orange rind
Dried finish then I was expecting. More floral, orange, and overall just not what I was expecting. At all. I don’t hate it, I’m just surprised.
Like a sex tour to Thailand. We’ve all been there.
Conclusion: Overall a really good dram. This batch shows off an amazing, brash nose, a really strong, though simple taste, and an odd, but pleasing finish. Nothing in here is blowing me away (save maybe the nose).
I’d buy a bottle of this batch. It’s tasty, and the nose is really, really good.
Age: 7 years, 5 months
Colour: 7.5YR 5/8
Nose: Strawberry, melon, oak, cloves, caramel, molasses, hazelnut, pastry, cocoa
Okay, this is odd. I’m going on the hypothesis right now that all of these would be similar. However rather than a big brown sugar blast, this instead to have more of a fruit aspect.
Like the spice here. Overall reminds me of Nutella baking, really. And as a fat ass, I can say that’s a bonus.
Taste: Peanut, black cherry, white tea, sea salt, edamame
Really odd mixtures of flavours here. Reminds me more of a Japanese whisky. Which is funny, because if I had to pick, I’d pick this over most Japanese whiskies.
Take that Japan! Wait…. Oh, the company is owned by a Japanese company? Well that’s egg on my face.
Finish: Umami, oak, cloves, peanut, dry, coconut, plastic
Less complexity and more simple flavours. Really like it at first, as it ends similar to the last batch I had, yet with more spice.
That said, I was going to say this was near perfect, then it has this plastic flavour at the end. Like burnt plastic. Throws me off a tad.
Conclusion: Okay, throws me off a lot. Throws me right off a building like a spoiled child.
Overall I liked the nose, and the taste was really, really good. The finish nearly took all the taste and finished it well, and then… plastic.
Barring that, I really, really enjoyed the dram. It’s quite good, and has some really flavourful notes throughout. While this didn’t make the round table (still not 100% what that means), I enjoyed it, and may buy a bottle given the right price.
Age: 7 years, 5 months
Colour: 7.5YR 6/8
Nose: Cola, oak, hot, apple cider (dry kind), cloves, grass, pecan, pumpkin latte
So this one starts out like a typical bourbon, which isn’t a bad thing (contrary to what people think about my reviews).
This is the first one that’s pretty hot. That said, given time it grows into more spice.
I’m starting to see a bit of a pattern on the nose. Spice, and oak are typical. Lots of autumn notes (not fall notes, because that tastes like the ground).
Taste: Peanut, anise, peach, cola
It brings me back in with opening up in the nose, and more so reminds me of a stronger, though standard bourbon.
Again, not that it’s a bad thing, but I’m expecting more compared to the others. Or really compared to anything I’ve had in the past.
Finish: Cloves, grass, caramel, cumin, corn syrup
Better finish than taste. It’s quite earthy. The plastic, unnatural notes from the previous batch now has a better twist on it.
Nice finish. Not dry like the others, more so has more of the spice from the taste, and doesn’t end as nicely as the others.
Conclusion: I’m not loving this one as much as the others. It’s unbalanced, has harsh notes in the nose, and the taste is not out of this world.
Finally the finish is finally amping up, yet doesn’t really do enough. And for the first time, probably ever, I’m missing a dry aspect to complete it all.
By itself, this Booker’s batch doesn’t really impress me. If I had it by itself, I’d say it was okay yet wouldn’t buy a bottle or try other Booker’s.
Skip this one, hope others don’t make the same mistake.
Batch: Noe Secret (2015-06)
Age: 6 years, 8 months, 7 days
Colour: 2.5YR 5/8
Nose: Oak, cherry, honeycomb, lemon, ginger, nutmeg, cocoa nibs, candy cane
So again, there’s oak. And like before, there’s some fruit, and spice. Yet this time, it’s the best of all worlds. Nice dark notes, good acidity, and great amounts of spice and earth.
So basically I came.
Taste: Mint, papaya, dark caramel, musty, blackberry
Big spice notes, darker caramel, and.. well, really dank flavours. Not like the memes I used before, actually dank and musty.
Nice amount of fruit here.
Finish: Mint, oak, nectarine, cashew, black cherry, dry, pear, brine
More mint, and the right amount of dry notes, good fruit to match with the taste… wow, I really enjoy this one.
I may have come again.
Conclusion: Overall I liked this batch the best. They hit a really nice overall flavour of blackberry, caramel, and dark flavours. It’s really a treat to find the right one at the end, and see what they’re trying to do at the end.
Pretty sure the last 7 days did it. Totally. Buy this if you can, it’s worth it.
Bourbon review #136-139, Kentucky review #94-97, Whiskey Network review #770-773
1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die review #298