Baker's 107 proof, 7 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is one of the four bourbons that make up Jim Beam/Suntory's "Small Batch Bourbon Collection" along with Booker's, Knob Creek, and Basil Hayden's.
It is named for Jim Beam's grand-nephew, Baker Beam, who worked as a distiller under the direction of his cousin Booker Noe in the dark days of bourbon (1970's - 1980's). Baker Beam literally grew up at Jim Beam's Clermont facility. As a teenager, he worked as a night watchman at the distillery, moved into yard labor for two years, then the dump floor where barrels were emptied and tasted, as the night shift supervisor for several years, and ultimately as the top distiller in Clermont, a position he held for eighteen years. Today, he personally selects barrels to be blended and hand bottled as Baker's.
Baker's 7 Year Small Batch
James B. Beam Distilling Co./Suntory
$38 at ABC in Salisbury, NC
Color: Dark amber.
Nose: Caramel, orange peel, Listerine/mint, barrel char, cedar.
Tasting notes: Vanilla and fruit sweetness gives way to bitter oak, baking spices, and a deep earthy/woody finish. Baker's does carry a pleasant, syrupy mouthfeel and at 107 proof, packs a spicy punch.
Overall: C+. I don't dislike Baker's, but I do not prefer it to many other bourbons in this age range/proof class. When compared to the other Jim Beam Small Batch offerings like Booker's and Knob Creek, Baker's comes in a distant third place. The flavors are independently interesting and deep, but they never come together in a winning way.