Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Beam's Finest: Booker's Bourbon


In my review of Knob Creek Rye I noted that I'm not a big fan of Jim Beam products. I particularly dislike their ryes but also don't care for the basic Beam mashbill that goes into Jim Beam label bourbons as well Knob Creek and Baker's. The only bottling of this mashbill that I have enjoyed is Booker's, the barrel strength version of the Beam mashbill. It's been years since I tried Booker's, and I've never done a formal review, so I thought it was a good time to revisit this member of the Jim Beam small batch collection.


Booker's Bourbon, 63.7% abv ($50)

The nose has nice caramel notes and maple syrup with some decent wood on it, as well as tobacco and red wine notes. The palate is distinctively Beam, syrupy sweet but then it has some nice, spicy, tobacco type notes, then it gets a bit soapy and ends on a cloyingly sweet note which fades into a sticky finish.

Well, this is definitely better than most of the Beam mashbill, but while I remember it fondly, I wasn't very impressed with this one (and of course, there is always the possibility that the composition has changed over the years). It's far too sweet for my taste, though I like the spicy/tobacco note that creeps into the mid-palate. If you like Beam, this is definitely a step up, but there is a lot better bourbon to be had for $50.


See the LA Whiskey Society review of Booker's Bourbon.

9 comments:

Jordan Devereaux said...

In the Beam small batch collection, Bakers was my favorite. Bookers seems a bit too hot, but the 107-proof Bakers was just right. With that said, it's still too expensive. There are a lot of things I can get for $40+.

Lazer said...

I was just reading the new book from Fred Noe about the Beam family history and he says Booker used to drink his in a blend of equal parts Booker's, Devil's Cut, Red Stagg and root beer on the rocks in a paper cup with a plastic straw. Anybody that is tasting this neat in a glencairn glass is missing half the picture.

Kickert said...

I think you nailed it when you said "soapy." That is the dominate taste I get from Beam products... especially their ryes.

newtoast said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the composition has changed. I used to drink this fairly regularly and tried it again a few weeks ago for the first time in a couple years. All I got was the big wood and sugar syrup and a surprisingly weak finish. It was a dumber, much less interesting whiskey than the one I remember.

Josh Feldman said...

Every taste of different batch of Booker's I get is different. They are all hot and sweet and wooded. They all are a bit light on body - but some have a clear view of that funky, earthy, tangy "Beam" sour flavor note. Others have a big bit of that tobacco note. Some are missing the oak perfume. My current bottle (2011 autumn) is just about perfect. It's also the highest proof (127.9) I've ever seen on a Booker's (that vary from batch to batch). It's still hot and thin - but I'm not aware of other cask strength bourbons at that price. I agree that there are other bourbons I'd rather drink for $50 - but I can't think of another cask strength bourbon for less than $75.

sku said...

Josh, in terms of cask strength, I can get Wild Turkey Rare Breed for $35-$40 and definitely prefer it to Booker's.

alligatorchar said...

Josh - You can readily get private selection cask strength single barrels of Four Roses bourbon. Ten different recipes too boot. I've got two each of the ten bottles from The Party Source and I order reinforcements as needed. They retail for $50 each. Binny's has also had all ten in the past but I believe for a little more price wise. K&L has typically had a private barrel too.

weller_tex said...

I like Booker's better than Sku, but I like Baker's better. My tastes vary from time to time but in general I do like sweet bourbons. I also like the taste of nuts I get in Booker's and to some extent in Baker's.

sku said...

Alright, I'll put a revisit of Baker's on my list. I probably haven't had it in ten years.