Review: Booker’s “Pigskin Batch” Is Your Super Bowl Whiskey
The most intense bourbon ever?
What We’re Drinking: Booker’s Batch 2020-03 “Pigskin Batch,” the third of a limited-edition 2020 series, released just before year’s end
Where It’s From: Booker’s only releases barrel-strength bourbon and puts as much emphasis on the location of the barrels in their warehouses as anything else. The hooch here is overseen by seventh-generation Master Distiller Fred Noe — it’s quite the family legacy, as you’ll notice below — who recently won Master Blender/Distiller of the Year at the 2020 International Spirits Competition.
Why We’re Drinking It: It’s near the end of football season, and Pigskin is a nod to Fred’s dad, sixth-generation Master Distiller Booker Noe, who apparently loved the game (also, he was 6’4” and near 300 pounds as a high school player).
And we’re fans of the bourbon, of course. The late Booker — a Master Distiller for 40 years and son of Jim Beam’s daughter, Margaret Noe — actually coined the term “small batch” bourbon back in the early ‘90s and is given a lot of credit for revitalizing the industry.
As usual with Booker’s the bourbon, the namesake tipple here is a limited release that arrives with a nice family backstory and a lot of heat. This is uncut (aka not diluted) and unfiltered (non-chill filtered) and the barrels were selected by Fred Noe.
The age here is six years, seven months and seven days, and the ABV is a whopping 127.3. Each Booker’s release varies not by age and proof, but also which floor and what warehouse. You can see a nice overview of what goes into an earlier Booker’s release here. While not listed on their site, the Pigskin release is the final result of two production dates and five different rackhouse locations.
How it tastes: A beautiful dark amber, it’s baking spices and vanilla on the nose with a candied fruit on the palate. It coats the mouth nicely and the finish is long and warm. For packing such a boozy punch, this is smooth sailing. (A drop or two of water neither hurt nor helped, though it brought out a bit more of a caramel note). A winner. Much like Kansas City will be on Feb. 7.
Fun fact: The prior 2020 releases were a ““Granny’s Batch” (a nod to Fred’s grandmother — “Granny enjoyed a bourbon highball in the evenings” as he notes) and “Boston Batch” (actually named after the Boston, KY production site where Booker Noe first started his distilling career).
Boston’s is great, too, although a completely different animal and quite nutty in profile. Granny’s … We sadly received just before Covid shut everything down last spring, so it’s currently aging on our abandoned office desk.
Where to buy it: The retail price is $90, and though it’s hard to find it’s not impossible.
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