Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Booker's 25th Anniversary
The year 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the first line of Booker's Bourbon, counting back to when it was a private bottling by Jim Beam Master Distiller Booker Noe for his friends and colleagues. Booker's became a public release in 1992 as part of the Jim Beam Small Batch Collection, bottled at cask strength. This year, Beam commemorates Booker Noe's special bourbon with a 25th Anniversary expression. This expression is a bit older than the regular Booker's. It's labeled 10 years 3 months whereas regular Booker's is six to seven years old.
I used to be a fan of Booker's - one of the only Beam products I really liked, but I've been disappointed by more recent Booker's bottles. Let's see how the special edition compares.
Booker's 25th Anniversary, Batch 2014-01, 65.4% abv ($100)
This has a nice nose with some banana, peanut and caramel; it's sort of Snickers like. The palate is sweet with caramel and Butterfingers notes. It takes on some complexity with oak and tannic notes toward the end. The finish is the best part with a nice balance of the palate's sweetness and tannins. Water gives it more sweetness up front but also extends the tannic notes toward the end. It's a bit hot taken neat so I would recommend a drop or two of water, which doesn't compromise the flavor.
This is pretty good; it reminds me of some of the better Booker's I've had, back when they were better. It didn't bowl me over, but I'm not generally a fan of the standard Beam juice, so I wouldn't expect it to. It was definitely above average, and if you are a big Beam fan, you'll probably love it. All of this may be moot though, since, as with most limited releases these days, it's been a very tough bottle to find. [Edit: Colin, in the comments, notes that it is available at BevMo for $125].