So over this past year I’ve gone out of my way to try whiskies from around the world, in attempt to expand my knowledge and have new experiences. Along the way I’ve found a great appreciation for Bourbon especially older expressions, something we didn’t get much of here in the UK. With Jim Beam and Jack Daniels being the most easily available to purchase but with a recent growth in interest for Bourbon in the UK supermarkets are now stocking a wider range. This might only be the core expressions from brands like Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, Woodford Reserve etc. So when you see specialist retailers stocking even more expressions including some very tasty single barrel editions at cask strength, you can find some real gems that are just too good to leave on the shelf.
I was told my latest purchase was one of these gems, it was a bottle of Booker’s Bourbon from the Jim Beam distillery aged 7 yrs 2 mths and 5 days and bottled at 63.7% abv or 127.4 proof. It is cask strength and unfiltered from barrels that mature on the middle floors of the warehouse. This is where Booker believed the humidity and temperature came together to create the richest and most intense flavors.
So here’s my thoughts on my latest purchase.
Nose: Vanilla, baked banana, sweet pear, subtle Orange, chocolate, rich sweetness something like marshmallow, hints of sandlewood, an earthy herbal note, after some time the Oak starts to come through..
Palate: Big pepper spice and Oak hit first, some sweetness in the form of butterscotch, lots of red fruits, red currants, cranberries etc, some old leather notes comes through after time with a beeswax hint..
Finish: Is very long with caramelised sugar and oak spice dominating your mouth..
This is most definitely a gem of a bottle, it has so many levels to it. I was surprised at how mellow and fruity it was on the nose for such a high abv, then you take a sip and it just explodes across your taste buds. It doesn’t knock your head off and that makes it a little dangerous to, as I found out while doing this review (I honestly didn’t think I’d drunk that many). It’s big and bold but refined at the same time, something I haven’t found very often in bourbons.
Having tried a fair few bourbons over this past year and having 12 bottles in my collection, I must say that this has just taken the spot as my favourite bourbon I’ve tried so far. The combination of the big bold flavors I’ve come to expect but with such refinement, it has just raised the standard by which other bourbons will be judged.