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Stogie Spirits: Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon

14 Feb 2011

Booker Noe, Jim Beam’s late grandson, introduced Booker’s in 1992 as the “highest grade bourbon” made by the James B. Beam Distilling Co. Today it still holds that title and serves as the pinnacle of the Small Batch Bourbon Collection, a lineup that includes Baker’s, Basil Hayden’s, Booker’s, and Knob Creek.

Aged six to eight years in charred American white oak barrels, this spirit “is the first ever bourbon bottled straight from the barrel—uncut and unfiltered.” Before it was made commercially available, Noe is said to have crafted the bourbon in this fashion as a holiday gift for his closest friends.

These days Booker’s is widely available for $50-60 per 750 ml. bottle. Each comes handsomely packaged in a wooden box that bears the name “Claremont, Kentucky,” which is the home of Jim Beam. Inside is a dark, wax-dipped bottle adorned with ribbon and a unique label with cursive script, presumably a representation of Booker Noe’s handwriting.

Once poured, the bourbon maintains its dark copper color in the glass as it exudes a powerful fragrance of butterscotch, vanilla, oak, and zesty barbecue. This aroma is simultaneously intense and intriguing, setting the stage for the bold flavor that follows.

The taste is forceful yet refined, extremely warm on the lips, in the mouth, and down the throat. This warmth lingers for an incredible amount of time, as does the syrupy flavor of honey, dried fruits, and caramel.

A bourbon like this can be paired with just about any full-bodied cigar without fear of one overpowering the other. I tried a number of combinations in my “research” for this article, and smokes like the Avo Heritage, La Sirena, and San Lotano Habano made the best pairings. I look forward to discovering others.

As always, I recommend you undertake some experiments of your own. I also recommend you pick up a bottle of this outstanding bourbon. Despite its price, Booker’s is an unforgettable spirit that’s unique, bold, smooth, delicious, and worth every penny.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

6 Responses to “Stogie Spirits: Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon”

  1. Tweak Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    One of my all time favorites… Knob Creek was my favorite until I first tasted Bookers.

  2. Marc E. Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    Why oh why must I read this? It will only encourage me to buy another bottle of bourbon to add to the overflowing shelf full of American and Scottish whiskeys. I must learn to finish one bottle before buying another one…but what say you of enjoying variety from time to time?…it's hopeless…Booker's, welcome to my shelf.

  3. E Rod Monday, February 14, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    This. Shit. Fucking. Rocks.

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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Stogie Guys, Cigar News. Cigar News said: Stogie Guys | Stogie Spirits: Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon: Booker Noe, Jim Beam’s late gran… @stogieguys #cigars […]

  2. Stogie Spirits: Knob Creek Single Barrel | The Stogie Guys - Thursday, June 30, 2011

    […] makes Knob Creek along with other small batch bourbons that I’ve come to enjoy, including Booker’s and […]

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    […] All in all, there’s not much to dislike about the Elijah Craig 18 Year. It’s a tasty, balanced spirit that doesn’t let you forget it’s a bourbon. And it does so at the competitive price of $45 for a fifth, pricing it just under similarly excellent spirits such as Blanton’s and Booker’s. […]