Saturday, February 22, 2014

Booker's Small Batch Bourbon

Booker's Small Batch Bourbon is an uncut and unfiltered barrel proof product from Booker Noe, who was Jim Beans grandson and also master distiller for Beam for 40+ years (starting in 1960 and until his death in 2004). Booker was a virtuoso for his ability to judge a bourbon's quality. He would select barrels of especially high quality (usually stored in the coveted center rows of the warehouse) and keep them for special occasions. As gifts of these private samples were met with increasingly positive response, he started bottling and selling it in limited quantities in 1988. It has become one of Jim Beam's flagship products.

The label on the front of the bottle reads:

"The whiskey in this package is the highest grade bourbon made by me here at Jim Beam. It is uncut and bottled straight from the barrel. My grandfather Jim Beam liked his whiskey from six to eight years old"

This bottle of Booker's Small Batch Bourbon is bottled at 128.5 proof and is 6 years and 2 months old (Batch C06-K-8). Purchased for $49.99.

Color: A nice mix of honey and gold.

Nose: Sweet, molasses, brown sugar, floral, subtle fruit, intense vanilla, oak, pipe tobacco, charcoal.

Taste: Bold flavors here. Maple and salted caramel notes that quickly give way to a crescendo of black pepper, tobacco and oak.

Finish:  Long and bold. Leather and black pepper.

Conclusion: We should never take for granted the years of history and expertise that it takes to produce a high quality bourbon. This is a very good product; hats off to Booker Noe for sharing it with the world. 

My Rating: B+ (Very Good)

Video Review:

Monday, February 3, 2014

Stagg Jr. Bourbon

Over the course of my bourbon journey I have learned some important bits of information. One of them being: if it says Stagg on the bottle, you probably should buy it. 

This uncut, unfiltered bourbon is aged for "nearly a decade" (no actual age statement on label), and is quite the heavyweight, being bottled at 134.4 proof. It shares the same mash bill as its older brother, George T Stagg. 

Color: Very dark caramel, it is 67.20% ABV after all. 

Nose: A really fantastic nose. Nut toffee, black cherries, snickerdoodle, cinnamon. Spice.

Taste: This is intense. Initial sweetness that is quickly greeted by the heat from the high ABV. Dark chocolate covered cherries, toasted graham crackers. Spicy with notes of cinnamon, black pepper, and tobacco. 

Finish: Cigars, spice, and oak bitterness linger for a long, warming finish. 

Conclusion: Let's start with the facts: This is an uncut, unfiltered bourbon at a high ABV, and it's only $49.99. Yes, its the best of both worlds; this is no consolation prize. The nose is one of my favorites. For most people, 67.20% alcohol may be hard to handle without adding water, but if you're like us and enjoy the bold characteristics that come with high ABV, then you will love Stagg Jr. 

My Rating: A (Great) 

  Bourbon Brothers Review: