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fishnbowljoe

BOTM 6/16: Booker's

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fishnbowljoe

Well, it's BOTM time again, and for once I ain't late. :D 

 

As has been the case with many of the more recent BOTM's, we're gonna go back and revisit another one. The last time Booker's was the BOTM was way back in September of 2010. Below is what I wrote back then. 

 

I can't add much as far as my own tasting notes go. I have only tasted this bourbon a few times, and the one bottle I own hasn't been opened yet. I did like it okay and was a bit surprised that the higher proof didn't overpower the flavor too much. From what I can remember, there was smoke, wood, tobacco, leather, and maybe a hint of nuttiness. Walnut? 

 

All that pretty much still stands, but…., since 2010 there's been a couple of special releases, new named batches, and the price has dropped. :huh:FWIW, the price was what partly kept me from buying Booker's. It used to be anywhere from low to mid $50's to over $60 a bottle in some places around where I live. Now that it's at a more reasonable price, at least at one store near me, (mid/upper $40's IIRC) I just might have to buy myself a bottle. :P

 

Let's hear what y'all have to say about Booker's. Cheers and happy posting!

 

Joe

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Harry in WashDC

Browsing through the threads, and THIS one popped up.  Having my SECOND Booker's "Dot's Batch" (the one with the alert dog on it) tonight.  Like the first, I'm drinking this with ice in a DOF glass.  Because they are barrel proofs, I rarely drink them neat.  Back before I discovered Lot B, I drank a lot of Booker's then got out of the habit and forgot about it.  The SB thread about the new branding and what it meant reminded me, and I couldn't be happier.

 

What Joe said about price and flavors goes for me.  I particularly like how each batch is a little different, meaning I get to play with how much water or ice to add, given my mood and what I've eaten lately, to have it hit the spot.  IN SUM - it keeps me interested.  AND, they go on sale around here sometimes.

 

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Bourbon Boiler

One of my first bottles when I started this hobby.  My first taste I likened to drinking a firecracker. 

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JoeTerp

My first barrel proof bourbon.  I really enjoy Booker's.

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meadeweber

Bookers is always good and some releases are great.  It's the one bourbon that I always add water to.

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Spade

I had been meaning to buy a bottle of this for some time but had never gotten around to it. I had tried it a few times but whenever I went to buy a bottle I ended up going with KCSB instead. Well, I finally got around to buying a bottle last week and I've already made a pretty good dent in it. While I can see the family resemblance between the two, Booker's is a little less oaky which lets the sweetness and nuttiness shine. I think both Booker's and KCSB are great and am glad both are on the shelf just about everywhere. 

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Richnimrod

Booker's is a very reliably good-to-great high-proof offering, IMHO.     I've yet to have a bottle of any of the batches that seemed substandard to me, and several have been stellar or close to it.

I agree with Spade's analysis, as to Booker's and Knob Creek Single Barrel.    Both are somewhat similar, and certainly 'of a family'. 

I generally find Booker's to be sweeter than most Bourbons, including KCSB, although in the case of KCSB; that one to me, is a sweeter than average Bourbon as well.

I always have at least one Booker's Open, and generally, depending upon opportunities, a couple backed up. 

The one thing I'd disagree with, on the preceding posts in this thread is the 'price drop' comments.   In Michigan at least, the price has risen steadily over the past 4 or 5-years to over $60/750 now.

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Flyfish

I find Booker's quite agreeably rich and thick when sipped neat. The key word is "sipped." A couple years ago I poured some before dinner to let it breath a little. By the time dinner was over I had forgotten what I had poured and inhaled a nice big gulp. Like the cat that sat on a hot stove, I won't do that again! Booker's also has the advantage of being the only barrel proof bourbon available just about any time I want it. Currently have two bottles open.   

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PappyStagg

I stumbled upon a bottle recently at 130.4 proof and it does not have those 2015 or 2016 stickers on it, so I am assuming it is maybe from 2014 or before. I searched the forums for a list of yearly bottlings and their proofs but couldn't find anything. Can any of you point me in the right direction?

 

I greatly enjoy Booker's and had it most recently about a month ago at the Beam Distillery. I was fortunate to be there with 2 friends and we were each able to select two samples to try, so we all shared in 6 different pours. I had to go with Booker's as one of mine as I was in the mood for the "Kentucky Hug", the term our guide used to describe that warm feeling you get from the higher proof stuff. 

 

I'll open up this latest bottle I got sometime this weekend and share my thoughts with the group later. 

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dcbt
20 hours ago, Harry in WashDC said:

Having my SECOND Booker's "Dot's Batch" (the one with the alert dog on it) tonight. 

 

This is the bottle I have open right now as well, batch 2015-02.  Booker's is the only Beam product I keep on the bar regularly.  It's usually still under $50 here and almost always available to boot - both rarities when it comes to barrel proof offerings...

 

It took Booker's 25th for me to become a fan, though.  To this day, that's one of the best bourbons I've ever had.

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Tennessee Dave

Just purchased the Bluegrass batch a couple of days ago.  Will post my impressions this weekend.

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Tennessee Dave

Intense ethanol nose on initial pour with scents of dark caramel, oak and vanilla.  Opened up a bit after about 30 minutes with some aeration.  Taste on initial sip was leather, tobacco, sweet dark caramel and vanilla.  Intense heat and very viscous.  This one coats the mouth.  Flavors are intense and lingering.  Added a few drops of water and the flavors intense and the body remains smooth.  For me this will always be one that needs a little spring water to knock down the intense heat.  Good stuff for sure.  I missed out on the Noe Secret batch which I heard was excellent.  In the meantime this Bluegrass batch will find a prominent spot in my cabinet.

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Kepler

Booker's is a reliable go-to when I want a mouthful of intense and complex flavor. It has everything a good bourbon should. I recently tried the Center Cut and Noe's Secret batches and enjoyed their differences. I preferred the Center Cut batch neat and didn't find that adding water did anything but dilute the creaminess and flavor. On the other hand, Noe's Secret opened up with a splash of water and I preferred it that way. Both are excellent in their own way.

 

In this age of overpriced and purposely limited-availability releases, I think we should all commend Beam for staying the course on Booker's and continuing to offer it at affordable prices and in large quantities.

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fozzy71

Grunch.  I have an open bottle (and one bunkered) I haven't tasted in some time.  I think I will have to have a pour tonight with a big ice cube.

 

Slightly off topic: The boxes make great condiment and hot sauce containers for your counter/table.

Edited by fozzy71

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Jazz Nut

Booker's was probably my first barrel proofer, and have been through 4-5 bottles over the years.  I've not had a bad batch, it's readily available, and pretty affordable here ($40-50).

 

I REALLY enjoyed Booker's 25th, too bad they can't do a special edition on a yearly basis at the same quality.

 

At any rate, great BOTM!

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Auracom

Finishing up a Bookers 2014-06 to partake in this BOTM. It's funny... I had been under a spell of barrel proof bourbon fatigue for some time but didn't realize it until I dug into this bottle. The combination of Beam funk, intense spice (especially cinnamon), nuts, and oak stands unique even amongst today's saturation of barrel proof competition. And an important label for the market given its history and consistency. 

 

I've been through a few Knob Creek single barrel picks and while they were good, they did not mesh on the palate quite like Bookers. It's worth the premium, imo. 

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flahute

It took me a while to get to Booker's when I started the enthusiast journey. Stagg was my gateway and in my naivete at the time I thought that barrel proofers were supposed to be in the mid 130's or higher. I saw Booker's on the shelf at about 126 or so with a price of $50+ at slightly less than 7 yrs of age and thought that it must be inferior and not worth the price. KCSB on the other hand was 9yrs old and while only 120 proof got great ratings from Whiskey Advocate. (I was influenced by such things back then). I loved KCSB and after a while figured that I should try Booker's given the familial ties. I was also a bit wiser by then. I found Booker's to be fantastic, and this was back when there were no batch names so Booker's was simply Booker's. I came to appreciate that it's always available and I always have one on hand. 

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GaryT

Bookers was my first "premium" bourbon.  I remember buying it and thinking I was being reckless spending $45 on a bottle of whiskey (I mean - who DOES that?!?!)  And then I was embarassed that I didn't just absolutely love it.  At the time (early days of my bourbon journey), I had discovered ETL which was my favorite pour - and this was twice that price, and I didn't even like it as much as ETL.  I tried it on the rocks, with a splash of water, and neat - and nothing worked for me.  So I put it in the back of my cabinet.  

 

A year later (and further down the journey), I had discovered barrel proof bourbons that I really did love (like GTS).  I had forgotten about the Bookers, and pulled it out just to finish it off (refusing to throw away such an expensive bottle).  It was one of those pivotal moments - expecting to not like it, I was caught off guard when I totally loved it!  The chocolate/cocoa notes were shining through, and the bottle wound up only being around for another week or so after that.  Since, I've always had a bottle on hand.

 

I think Bookers is a reliable high proof bourbon that consistently delivers, and sometimes surprises.  I've never had a bottle (after that first one!) that I didn't like, and some batches have been surprisingly delicious.  It isn't BTAC, but in a world where bottles like that are impossible to come by - the fact that I can walk into any decent store and pull a bottle of this (and find it behind many hotel bars while travelling) makes it even better.  

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meadeweber
6 hours ago, darylld911 said:

 

I think Bookers is a reliable high proof bourbon that consistently delivers, and sometimes surprises.  I've never had a bottle (after that first one!) that I didn't like, and some batches have been surprisingly delicious.  It isn't BTAC, but in a world where bottles like that are impossible to come by - the fact that I can walk into any decent store and pull a bottle of this (and find it behind many hotel bars while travelling) makes it even better.  

Well said Gary and I totally agree.

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Golferpimp1

Hmm, just realized that bottle my brother snagged for me was 2015-06 which I believe is Noe's Secret. I may have to Crack this one open. All I have seen for sale around here is Maw Maw and bluegrass. I did try this at a bar a ehile back and thought it tasted very grassy and harsh. Not b sure which batch that was though.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk

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RWBadley

Of the recent named batches I have found only Annis Answer I didn't care for all that much. Quite enjoyed Center Cut and liked Noe Secret too.

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PappyStagg

Had a a few pours of Booker's last night. First pour was HOT! Added a few drops of water to it and it opened up nicely. The other two pours weren't as hot, so I held off on the water. 

 

Unrelated - did I miss the 07/16 edition of this thread? I've only got 4 days left now to find it and enjoy it. :D

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fishnbowljoe
5 hours ago, PappyStagg said:

Unrelated - did I miss the 07/16 edition of this thread? I've only got 4 days left now to find it and enjoy it. :D

 

 

You didn't miss the BOTM for July PappyStagg. I didn't do one this month. :mellow:

 

Your question does bring up a good point though. A couple of members have also sent me pm's, so I will try and explain some of my rationale when choosing a BOTM. 

 

I try to pick a BOTM with the majority of the membership here in mind. In other words, one that most folks here will hopefully be able to find without too much hassle. This is getting harder to do with regards to the current bourbon boom we're experiencing. I also take into consideration the many new members we have. That's why I've revisited many BOTM's. I'll throw an oddball or LE/special release into the mix once in a while too, but those don't seem to go over too well. So, don't anyone be alarmed if I miss a month here and there.  Also and FWIW, if anyone has a suggestion for a BOTM, just send me a pm. I've done a few BOTM's that were suggested by members. ;) DISCLAIMER: I'm not saying I'll use someones suggestion, but then again, I'm not saying I won't. :P

 

Cheers y'all! 

Joe

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Richnimrod

Hey Joey, THANX for all you do, buddy!    If anyone gets up into your grill about missing a month, just send 'em my way.     I'll set 'em straight.    ...Straight Bourbon, that is!   Hee-Heeeeeee.

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b1gcountry

Joe, I know it is bourbon of the month, but if we opened it up to rye too, we'd instantly have like 50 extra bottles we could add to the rotation. Just a thought.

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk

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