husband, father, whisky lover, blogger, freelance whisky writer, and head of the New Jersey Whiskey Society & leading the USBG NJ efforts...currently the New Jersey Whisky Ambassador for Diageo & therefore leave the recent writing duties to guest bloggers, primarily that Bourbon loving fella named Gerard

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Booker's and Family

Yummy Yuletide Bliss
'Tis the Season!

Happy Holidays to all, and many good whisky wishes to all of you.

With the holidays often comes family.  Some of us are lucky enough to have fellow whisk(e)y drinkers in our families, and still even luckier are those of us that have relatives willing to share!

One of my family holiday parties this year was at my Uncle Tom and Aunt Rosemary's home.  It was a lovely event, filled with the usual friendly faces, and little ones zooming around all of our kneecaps.

One thing that was a little bit out of the norm was a pleasant surprise...a 95% full bottle of Booker's Bourbon!

Upon my arrival, while scanning the room and liquor layout, my eyes caught vision of a beautiful bottle of bourbon, nestled into the corner and quietly screaming for everyone to try it.

Booker's Bourbon is one of the small batch bourbons produced by the Jim Beam distillery and it is dark and deep in color.  As one of the standouts in their "Small Batch Bourbon Collection", this baby is a whopper.  She comes in at a barrel strong level of 65% ABV.

Notes I have found state that it was originally personally selected from barrels by Jim Beam's grandson, the late distiller Booker Noe. Noe originally bottled this straight-from-the-barrel bourbon as gifts to close friends and family, but eventually made it available to the general public, starting in 1992. Each barrel of Booker's bourbon was hand-selected by Noe and was aged at the center of the rackhouse, where the company says that the temperature and humidity are the most favorable for fine bourbons.

One of my favorite parts of all whiskeys is their history...before Noe even began crafting this masterpiece, he was already harnessing over 200 years of his family's work.  There is a certain romanticism and connection that comes through in many drinks of this stature.

Booker's bourbon is aged between six and eight years and is bottled un-cut and without chill filtering at its natural proof between 121 and 130.

My Uncle Tom's bottle was clearly at the 130 level:


This was not nearly as full by the end of the party...

We started with about 1.5 oz neat (wowza), and then poured a fresh glass on ice to nurse for a while.  Once the Booker's started flowing, it inherently became a necessity to share it with as many cousins and uncles as possible.  Needless to say, at this proof, it didn't take too long before many of us were in the spirit of the holiday!  (bad pun...I know)

Tasting Notes:

Nose:  Approach this one with caution, your nose is about to be assaulted by Big Oak, Vanilla, Cinnamon, all presented in a way that attacks your senses...even the Caramel can be aggressive...tread lightly.

Palate:  Powerful fire (there were some teary eyes, this one puts hair on your chest), Tannins & Tobacco, Rye and Syrup, more Wood.

Finish:  Intense, Clean and Long, a bit Drying too

Conclusion

This is a manly drink if there ever was one.  I have handled many cask strength whiskies with ease, but this one has a special gut punch power to it.  While I love the raw, untamed nature of this beast, I would highly recommend water or ice with this one.  Don't be a hero!  While I do enjoy it neat after letting it breathe a bit, at this ABV, you can still enjoy the richness of this fine whiskey (maybe even more) with some water.  Definitely recommended for those looking to do a cannonball into the deep end of the pool of big, bold, and massive whiskeys!

Score:  89

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