Booker’s Bourbon 2018 Batches Review

For our February 2019 Tasting Event, we sampled each of the four Booker’s Bourbon batches released in 2018 (in addition, we snuck in a sample of Baker’s, to see how it held up).  Because it was a blind sampling, we held off on any formal tasting notes or reviews until a later date. That later date has now arrived.

Booker's Bourbon 2018

Scott Hill and Stephen Netherton joined up to review each of the Booker’s Bourbon 2018 batches to discuss tasting notes and preferences. The tasting notes are provided below. Check out the video link at the bottom of the post to see Scott and Stephen discuss their thoughts on each of the four Booker’s Bourbon 2018 batches.

For more reviews of Jim Beam products, including the other members of the Small Batch Collection, click here.

Booker's Bourbon 2018 Kathleen's Batch

Booker’s Bourbon 2018-01 “Kathleen’s Batch”

Age: 6 years 3 months 14 days

Proof: 127.4

Nose: Brown sugar. Caramel. Leather. Honey. Sawdust. Vanilla bean. Peanut brittle. Some fruit. Ethanol. Butterscotch. 3.5/5

Palate: Baking spice. Peppery. Peanut brittle. Floral. Orange pith. Vanilla yogurt consistency that fades and becomes a bit dry. Improved body with water. 3/5

Finish: Most of the flavors burn off. The heat remains with some orange cocktail bitters. Blood orange. 2.5/5

Overall: As the scores show, this was a downhill trend. The finish was truly disappointing. Water helped recover some of the body needed to keep the flavors cohesive, but could not ultimately save the disjointedness. For being the “Roundtable Release,” this did not live up to expectations and was our least favorite 2018 batch.  3/5

Booker's Bourbon 2018 Backyard BBQ

Booker’s Bourbon 2018-02 “Backyard BBQ”

Age: 6 years 2 months 10 days

Proof: 128.8

Nose: BlackBerry. Freshly poured concrete. Dry and Earthy. Some tropical fruit with water. 3.5/5

Palate: Caramel and earthy butterscotch. Dried apricots. Blackberries. Dried apple. A creamy texture. 3.5/5

Finish: Some peanut shell. Other nutty flavors, like almond and hazelnut. Vanilla. 3.5/5

Overall: Talk about a surprise. This was the most off-profile Booker’s either of us have ever had. And even though we really like the typical Booker’s profile (heavy on the “Beam funk” with peppery heat and rich caramel), we liked this one, too. A refreshing surprise and worth snagging for that very reason. 3.5/5

Booker's Bourbon 2018 Kentucky Chew

Booker’s Bourbon 2018-03 “Kentucky Chew”

Age: 6 years 4 months 12 days

Proof: 126.7

Nose: Simple and classic. Vanilla caramel and brown sugar, but diluted a bit. Some leather and briny-ness. Pine needle. More leather and bitter chocolate with water. 2.5/5

Palate: Ritz peanut butter crackers. Grape soda. Feels more like classic Booker’s. Caramel. Creamy texture. 4/5

Finish: A straight transition from the palate with some cocoa. 3.5/5

Overall: You can’t always judge a bourbon by its nose, and this exemplified that. The rich palate was not signaled by the nose, but was the best palate of the bunch. Where the 2018-2 “Backyard BBQ” stood out for being off-profile, this fit squarely within the classic Booker’s profile. 4/5

Booker's Bourbon 2018 Kitchen Table

Booker’s Bourbon 2018-04 “Kitchen Table”

Age: 6 years 8 months 7 days

Proof: 128.0

Nose: Vanilla. Caramelized sugars. Green oak. Lemon juice. Cherry, plum, and apricot with water. 3/5

Palate: Thick. Rich peanut butter. Brown sugars and caramels. Buttered toast. Some baking spice. 4/5

Finish: Ginger. Peanut butter. Milk chocolate with water. 3.5/5

Overall: Another rock-solid pour that checks almost every box for what one expects from a bottle of Booker’s. We liked the 2018-3 “Kentucky Chew” just a tad bit more, but this was very close to being our favorite. 3.5/5




2 Replies to “Booker’s Bourbon 2018 Batches Review”

    1. You are correct. The Baker’s was thrown in to the blind tasting to see whether the guests could identify its differences, but also to see whether it could stand up to any of the Booker’s batches. The result was that most were able to identify something different about Baker’s, mostly the texture, and thought that the quality was just as good, if not better, than the Booker’s batches.

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