A sweet caramelly treat.
On a recent trip to the local whiskey bar, I wanted to try something different, higher quality than the standard (Maker’s Mark etc.). To be precise, Pappy Van Winkle’s 15 year bourbon, sad story short, they were fresh out. But as I mentioned, I was craving something awesome. Looking through their impressive list of Kentucky bourbons I found one I’ve been waiting to try for some time now, Booker’s bourbon.
Priced at $11 per glass, this stuff is not cheap, just barely under the price of the Van Winkle, when it’s available. Booker’s is a small batch bourbon coming out of the Jim Beam distillery, apparently Beam doesn’t just make the cheap stuff. To give you a better idea of the quality bourbons their producing, their small batch line also includes Baker’s, Basil Hayden’s, and Knob Creek, an impressive list. Booker’s is aged 6 to 8 years and bottled straight from the barrel, meaning it’s unfiltered and quite strong (127 proof!). Now, enough stats, let’s find out what this stuff tastes like!
The color is a real deep, rich amber, it’s the thicker, darker bourbons that seem to posses the more complex flavors. The nose is where Booker’s really caught me off-guard, it’s intense.
Sweet, caramel, vanilla, and oak are the first impressions, followed by what seemed to be penuche… wow I did not expect that. Again, this stuff is strong! Actually, it’s recommended (but not necessary) by Mr. Booker to toss in a splash or 2 of distilled water, which will mellow it a tad and unleash the full flavor. I enjoyed mine neat, but I’d like to try it with the recommended splash next time to compare. The flavors are of vanilla, a definite oak, and a real interesting toffee/brown sugar flavor which I really liked. The finish is nice and long with more of a burnt caramel taste. My only criticism is that the smell is so interesting and inviting that it almost overshadows the flavor.
I would definitely recommend trying this stuff out, the bottle is a bit pricey at $60 but a glass is sure worth trying. It gives the complex Knob Creek Single Barrel (one of my favorites) a run for its money, it’s just tough to justify that price difference. Definitely one of the best and most interesting bourbons I’ve had, this stuff is top notch.