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

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February 2019: Booker’s Bourbon 2018 Batches

Pop quiz: What is the first bourbon to be commercially released nationwide at barrel proof? According to Jim Beam, it is Booker’s Bourbon.

Booker's Bourbon 2018

Booker’s Bourbon is a member of Jim Beam‘s Small Batch Collection, along with Knob Creek, Baker’s, and Basil Hayden’s. Its namesake, former Master Distiller Booker Noe, used to select choice barrels from the center of the rickhouse as holiday gifts for close friends. In 1988, Jim Beam decided to release the purportedly first barrel proof bourbon nationwide.

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Booker’s 30th Anniversary Review (Bonus: Booker’s 25th Anniversary Review)

Booker's 30th

This past month, Jim Beam released Booker’s 30th Anniversary Bourbon to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 1988 release of Booker’s bourbon.

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Old Overholt Bonded and 80 Proof Review

Whiskey Advocate recently ran a story on the history of Old Overholt. I encourage you to read it, as it is quite an interesting story of how Old Overholt went from one of the most highly respected American whiskey brands to a nearly forgotten bottom-shelf offering. Long story short (and not to discourage a read), the brand’s nineteenth century glory and family heritage died during Prohibition. The company would land in corporate hands, and eventually into National Distillers (a now defunct corporation that once owned brands like Old Grand-Dad and Old Taylor).

Post-Prohibition would see the conglomeration of many American whiskey companies and the death of many labels. Many of those were rye whiskeys, which were falling out of fashion. Old Overholt continued in production, but its source for about a thirty-year period is largely unknown. It is suspected that during this time that Old Overholt’s mash bill was changed to account for a higher corn content, which might explain some of my tasting notes below.

Beam acquired the brand from National Distillers in 1987. Since that time, Old Overholt has been bottled as an 80-proof rye, and the current age statement reads a mere 3 years (Beam dropped the four year age statement in around 2013 in favor of the 3 year product).  Recently, Beam announced an expansion of the Old Overholt line, with a 100-proof, Bonded offering that would in some ways return the brand to its days of old, when Old Overholt was a bottled-in-bond product, 100 proof, at least 4 year rye whiskey.

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Little Book – Batch 1, “The Easy” Review

Many of you may have seen a familiar shaped bottle, in a familiar looking box, adorning the pages of Instagram, Facebook groups, or the web over the recent weeks. That bottle is Little Book, and it is packaged like – and shares many qualities with – Booker’s, the “uncut and unfiltered” small batch bourbon by Jim Beam. This newest product is a first release Little Book by Jim Beam, which too is a “uncut and unfiltered” and packaged identically (save label) to Bookers. It is a blended whiskey product, but batched (individualized blends) so that “each release of Little Book will be a different blend of spirits creating a one-of-a-kind taste.”

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