Review: The Latest Booker’s Releases Are Burly Bourbons
These limited-edition bottles ("Ronnie's Batch" and "The Lumberyard Batch") are uncut, unfiltered and not for the casual whiskey drinker
What we’re drinking: Booker’s Bourbon 2022-01 Ronnie’s Batch and 2022-02 The Lumberyard Batch
Where they’re from: Booker’s only releases barrel-strength, uncut and unfiltered bourbon and puts as much emphasis on the location of the barrels in their warehouses as anything else. The whiskey is overseen by seventh-generation Master Distiller Fred Noe (Jim Beam’s grandson).
Why we’re drinking these: I’ve enjoyed previous Booker’s releases, and the attention to nerdy whiskey detail here is always fun. For example, 3% of the Lumberyard Batch came from the 3rd floor of seven-story warehouse 5 — again, a lot of this is about barrel location.
For backstory — Ronnie’s Batch is named after Ronnie Land, a Warehouse Manager at the Jim Beam plants when Booker Noe was the master distiller. As the Warehouse Manager, Ronnie was responsible for the inventory of the aging barrels.
Meanwhile, Lumberyard is named in honor of the lumberyard that Booker Noe worked at during his pre-distillery year that “shaped his work ethic.”
How they taste: I consider Booker’s kind of like an IPA of whiskey — these are very bold, uncompromising sippers aimed at hardcore bourbon fans, not the everyday drinker.
- Ronnie’s Batch features an age statement of six years, 11 months and 22 days. Coming in at 124.3 proof, it’s dark amber in color. Baking spices, caramel and vanilla dominate, though a little dark fruit sneaks in at the finish (particularly if you add a drop or two of water).
- The Lumberyard Batch is aged seven years, one month and seven days. At 124.8 proof, there’s a chewy mouthfeel here, some jammy notes and, unsurprisingly given its name, a lot of wood and oak character (veering toward tobacco).
Fun fact: I haven’t tried this one, but the 2015-04 release “Oven Buster Batch” is quite a literal homage — it’s to honor a real-life incident when Fred Noe’s mother cooked with some early batches of Booker’s Bourbon and blew the oven door open while using the Booker’s to finish her pork roast.
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