Whiskey Review: Booker's Bourbon "Country Ham" Batch 2019-03 - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Booker’s Bourbon “Country Ham” Batch 2019-03

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Beam-Suntory. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

Booker’s Bourbon is one of the only bourbons today that is bottled uncut at barrel proof, instilling a strong and unique flavor and nose that is rich and robust. Inspired by over 200 years of family tradition, Jim Beam’s grandson and 6th generation Master Distiller Booker Noe originally created Booker’s Bourbon as personalized Christmas gifts for his close family and friends. Noe bottled his bourbon straight from the barrel, using barrels from the center-cut of the rack house. Fast forward to today, every batch of Booker’s Bourbon is hand-selected and tasted by Master Distiller Fred Noe before it’s bottled.

Booker’s has been creating their bourbons in small batches since 1992. This ensures a whiskey that is not filtered or cut with water, so we get to enjoy the full flavor fresh from the barrel. And since each barrel is different, every batch is unique and different. Booker’s 2019-3 “Country Ham” Batch is the third batch release for 2019. It was named after Booker Noe’s favorite hobby besides distilling: curing country ham. He enjoyed curing and tasting his hams nearly as much as he enjoyed distilling his bourbons.

The 2019 Batch Collection features four batch releases, each released in limited quantities. This batch is made from 364 barrels, all produced on the same day and stored in three separate warehouses. The breakdown of barrel storage is: 51% came from the 7th floor of 9-story warehouse H, 5% came from the 3rd floor of 7-story warehouse P, and 44% came from the 4th floor of 7-story warehouse P. It has a mash bill of 77% corn, 13% rye, and 10% malted barley.

Booker's Bourbon "Country Ham" Batch 2019-03

Booker’s Bourbon “Country Ham” Batch 2019-03 (image via Beam-Suntory)

Tasting Notes: Booker’s Bourbon “Country Ham” Batch 2019-03

Vital Stats: Bottled at 124.7 proof. 62.35% ABV. Aged for 6 years, 4 months, and 2 days. Priced at around $80 for a 750ml bottle. It has a mash bill of 77% corn, 13% rye, and 10% malted barley.

Appearance: A little lighter and thinner than I would have expected from the higher proof, with slowly falling thin legs. It has a soft, vibrant amber glow; like gold spun from straw, or sweet warm honey melting on toast.

Nose: My nose was filled with the aroma of homemade snickerdoodles or sugar cookies baking in the oven. Notes of warm vanilla pods and carmelized brown sugar lead to hints of oak, followed by an earthy nuttiness.

Palate: Flavors of warm brown sugar and sweet vanilla bean hit your palate first, followed by lightly smoked oak and seasoned wood. I tried it neat and it was warm and smooth, with a faint tingling burn that numbed my tongue.

The Takeaway

Summary

I really enjoyed this bourbon whiskey. It was full-bodied, rich, and flavorful. There was a light nuttiness, like hazelnuts roasting in the oven. I liked it best with a few splashes of water, but it would also be a great sipper on the rocks. It's sweet, with a lingering, smooth finish that warms your body like sunshine on a hot summer day.

5
User Rating 3.12 (33 votes)
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