Booker's the Barrel Review

“Great Balls of Fire”

Whisky Review # 657

Country: USA
Brand: Booker's Bourbon Batch # 2015-02 The Barrel (True Barrel Series)
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Age: 6-8 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 63.7%
Maturation: New Charred American White Oak Barrels 
Filtration: No  
Price Range: Around US$ 75 (October 2017)
Buying Advice: 😈 Hotter than Hell! I dare you to try it! Good Stuff! 

Colour: Deep Amber with shades of Orange (Natural Colour)

Nose: Sweet and Pleasant despite the high ABV. At first I get the familiar combination of Glue, Acetone, Vanilla, Orange, Caramel and Banana. It might not be everybody's cup of Tea but I find it rather addictive. A sort of Guilty Pleasure if you know what I mean! After a while In also find Fresh Peach, Corn Syrup, Milky Way Bar, Dusty Road, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, a mix of Dried Fruits and Nuts, Floral tones, Menthol, Charred Oak and hints of Leather, Aniseed and Tobacco. From time to time I pick up some Dark Red Fruit Aromas as well but it's hard to pinpoint them.      

Palate: Wow! This is not for the Faint of Heart! Extremely strong delivery thanks to the high ABV. I'm usually not a fan of adding Water but in this case it's almost mandatory. My eyes started crying a bit. Not from sadness though as I quite like the Palate of this Booker's. It roughly follows the Nose with Vanilla, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit and Nuts, Banana, Cherry, Acetone, Glue, Orange, Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Menthol, Aniseed, Herbs, Salted Peanuts and hints of Leather, Resin and Tobacco.

Finish: Middle-Long but quite Powerful. The Alcohol is really strong. Quite Tannic as well. Mainly Sweet but with a few Bitter - and Sour notes as well. I find Vanilla, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Acetone, Glue, Milky Way Bars, Sweet Corn, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Aniseed, Licorice, Menthol, Orange and Grapefruit Juice. Hints of Leather, Dried Herbs and Tobacco. Dry in the end. 

Drinking Advice:
I advise you to add a little Water in this case. You won't change the general Aroma and Flavour profile and it makes it easier to enjoy this Booker's.

Rating: 86 

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks:

Booker's Bourbon is part of Jim Beam's Small Batch collection and is named after Booker Noe, the former Master Distiller. It was first released to the general public in 1992. Each barrel selected for Booker's is aged in the centre of the rack houses where temperature and humidity are ideal. Booker's is Unfiltered and bottled at Cask Strength.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: This is what good Bourbon is all about. When you take a small sip you can easily imagine those old black and white Cowboy movies where the hero would enter a saloon and demand a shot! When I'm perfectly honest I would have preferred a slightly lower ABV of around 55% as the heat nearly gets out of control at almost 64%. I normally drink my Whisky or Bourbon neat but in this case I advise you to add a little Water. Other than that I really liked this Booker's. If you're not into Bourbon at all this is certainly not the way to start your voyage. But if you are a seasoned Glue and Acetone addict you will love this Booker's. It's Hot, it's Strong, it kicks like a wild mule and it gives no quarter. It's not at all complex but it's well-made and there's an authentic feel to it that I love. It's not cheap but it's well worth the ride. Rollin', Rollin', Rollin', Rawhide! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                 October 24, 2017

No comments: