Booker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is one of the four bourbons that make up Jim Beam/Suntory's "Small Batch Bourbon Collection" along with Baker's, Knob Creek and Basil Hayden's.
Jim Beam had two children, Jeremiah and Margaret. Jeremiah's progeny are the current Heaven Hill distillers, Parker and Craig Beam. Margaret married Frederick Booker Noe. Their son Booker was Master Distiller at Jim Beam until his death in 2004. His son, Fred Noe, is the current Master Distiller and oversees the Jim Beam line.
Booker Noe (1929-2004) is credited with not only developing the Beam "Small Batch" collection, but the term "small batch" and arguably the entire category of "super premium" bourbons.
Booker's is Jim Beam's highest alcohol content brand, coming in at somewhere between 121 and 130.6 proof. It is uncut, unfiltered, and aged between 6 and 8 years.
Booker's wasn't available to the public until 1992. Before then, Booker Noe would give uncut, unfiltered bourbon to friends and family as gifts, who praised the high proof product every year. The brand's label features his handwriting, error and all.
Booker's (Batch C02-1-24)
James B. Beam Distilling Co./Suntory
$52 at ABC in Salisbury, NC
Color: Deep, dark amber.
Nose: Caramel, vanilla, spicy rye, alcohol BURN, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beautiful, delicious, and dangerous.
Tasting notes: Like other uncut, unfiltered bourbons, the first sip is hot, with rye spice and alcohol burn, but there are brilliant notes of dark brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, lemon, and cinnamon. Tobacco leaf and oak linger long after you swallow. This bourbon is not for your mama.
Overall: B+. The more bourbon I drink, the more I seek mean and brooding high proof bourbons like Booker's (I acknowledge that this may sound like the seeds of alcoholism). I know even Booker Noe himself dropped some distilled water to tame his uncut stuff/open up some of the subtle flavors. I'll do it, but I don't mind drinking Booker's neat with no additions (or subtractions).