Whiskey Review: Booker’s Bourbon Batch 2021-04 “Noe Strangers Batch”

, | February 9, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Jim Beam. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

The fourth and final batch of Booker’s Bourbon 2021 season is released as Booker’s Bourbon Batch 2021-04 “Noe Strangers Batch,” a tribute to sixth-generation Master Distiller and founder Booker Noe. Noe is said to have had the ability to “turn a stranger into a friend for life,” hence the interesting name of this batch. Booker’s own son, seventh-generation Master Distiller Fred Noe, played a large part in the selection of the batch, keeping his promise to his father to make sure his Booker’s Bourbon stays true to the founder’s vision.

Booker’s Bourbon “Noe Strangers Batch” was aged six years, six months, and twelve days, and is bottled uncut and at its natural proof. Booker is known for offering bourbon “the way it used to be back in the old days,” with Fred quoting him as saying, “If anybody wants to add water to it, let the consumer add water to it.” Uncut bourbons are not common, but they are sought after. The process allows a connoisseur more control over their bourbon drinking experience, but I would say that it may intimidate some inexperienced drinkers with the raw power of the bourbon.

During an interview with The Whiskey Wash, Fred Noe describes his first time tasting with his father, stating, “The thing that I always remembered when I tasted it, was you drank it neat, which he always liked to drink it neat during his sampling, and then we would add water to it. The intense flavor.” I took this idea with me during my tasting of Booker’s “Noe Strangers Batch,” first tasting the bourbon neat before adding water.

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The bourbon strength, a whopping 124.4 proof, lower than my previous tasting of Booker’s “Tagalong Batch,” but still a powerhouse, tends to overpower the flavor profile. But when the water is added, the whiskey opens on the palate, offering a robust, deeply intense flavor. The four barrels this batch was made from were aged in four separate warehouses and were rested in charred white oak barrels.

Booker’s Bourbon Batch 2021-04 review

Booker’s Bourbon 2021-04 “Noe Strangers Batch” (image via Beam-Suntory)

Tasting Notes: Booker’s Bourbon “Noe Strangers Batch”

Vital Stats: Aged 6 years, 6 months, and 12 days. 62.2% ABV (124.4 Proof). Limited quantity at a suggested retail price of $89.99. Batch # 2021-04.

Appearance: Burnished copper.

Nose: Dates and other sticky dried fruit, like a fruitcake along with vanilla and spice.

Palate: Whew. Before adding a couple of drops of water, this bourbon is powerful, bordering on too strong. It’s viscous and smoky. But when I add those drops of water, the lasting appeal of Booker’s Noe is revealed. I got coffee, some smoke and charred oak, along with clove and cherry.

The Takeaway
4

Summary

It may be redundant, but I can’t emphasize the importance of very minimal dilution. There is great flavor and complexity to be found within this expression, it just takes a little patience to get there. I prefer a slightly more accessible bourbon, but for real unfiltered aficionados this will please. My star review here is specifically for the tasting after adding four small drops of water.

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User Review
4 (3 votes)

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Jerry Jenae Sampson

Jerry Sampson is a freelance writer, editor and screenwriter. Her creative work is ever improved by her love of whiskey and craft cocktails. She enjoys taking cool fall days to explore the great distilleries around Portland to get a closer look at the inner workings of her favorite spirits.