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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Barrell Craft Spirits 15 Year Bourbon Review

Barrell Bourbon 15

We are not a frugal bunch when it comes to whiskey (just ask our wives).  “Conservative” isn’t even a fair description.  Collectively, we rarely will say no to a new release of any kind, especially something that contains the magic words, “limited edition.”  Toss in a Fred Minnick “Best American Whiskey” designation and we would typically jump all over it.

But for once we didn’t, despite several opportunities to do so at suggested retail price.  Why?  Well, frankly, it was that suggested retail price.

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Murray Hill Club Special Release Pineau des Charentes Batch 1 and 2 Reviews

No doubt about it, we are pretty big fans of what is coming out of the Joseph Magnus distillery as of late.  Take for example one of our 2018 Flight Club barrel picks, a Joseph Magnus 10 year single barrel Tennessee bourbon (i.e., distilled at George Dickel).  It’s a fantastic barrel sourced to Magnus and one of the most chocolate forward bourbon’s many of us have had to date.  Or the standard Joseph Magnus or one of the Nasa store picks that we sampled late last year.   We have scored these relatively high, and would also likely score high some of the other batches or blends (like Cigar Blend, for example) coming out of Magnus if we had a chance to review each of the ones we have sampled.

Setting aside our love, this past fall Flight Club member Jamie Baalmann picked up a special release from Magnus that had us all intrigued – and for me at least, skeptical.  The special release was Batch 1 of Murray Hill Club Special Release Pineau des Charentes.  The cause for the skepticism? A $160 retail price.

After sampling Jamie’s bottle upon his endorsement, quickly my skepticism would turn to “where can I find a bottle.”

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