Whiskey Review: Booker’s Bourbon Toogie’s Invitation

Booker's Bourbon Toogie's InvitationEditor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a free sample to review by the party behind it. The Whiskey Wash, while appreciative of this, did keep full independent editorial control over this article.

Named for the late Booker Noe, Jim Beam’s legendary sixth-generation master distiller, Booker’s Bourbon is a Jim Beam side project, a series of limited-run, barrel-strength whiskeys. The distillery typically releases a handful of batches each year, most named for a different Noe family member or friend.

The current batch—the third of 2016—is called Toogie’s Invitation, after an old Noe family friend. Fred Noe, Booker’s son and Jim Beam’s current master distiller, explains on the  website:

“Batch 2016-03, ‘Toogie’s Invitation,’ is named in honor of Marilyn ‘Toogie’ Dick and her longstanding friendship with my parents, Booker and Annis Noe. With a bond that goes back to their high school days, Toogie has been part of the family since before I can remember and, when Dad first introduced Booker’s Bourbon, Toogie had a standing invitation to gather at our kitchen table, along with friends and family, and select batches of Dad’s namesake bourbon.

Later in life, Toogie joined Dad and Mom all over the world during their travels, and she could always be found making Dad’s favorite meal, her famous fried chicken, for him and any guests that he invited to dinner after a long day at the distillery. Toogie herself, along with the Booker’s Bourbon Roundtable, helped me to select this batch at her restaurant in Bardstown, KY. I know Dad would be proud to have this batch of his bourbon named after his dear friend, Toogie.”

At 129 proof, Toogie’s Invitation is bottled at the one of the highest ABVs of any Booker’s bourbon yet (though the $300, limited-edition Booker’s rye released earlier this year that we reviewed recently clocked in at a whopping 136.2 proof). I tasted it both neat and with a little water added.

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Tasting Notes: Booker’s Bourbon Toogie’s Invitation

Appearance: Deep mahogany


Nose: Sweet flavors like honey and vanilla dominate, followed by a little warm cinnamon, as well as oak and peach.

Palate: Unsurprisingly, the main thing I notice about this whiskey is that it’s hot as hell, with a seriously sticky mouthfeel. Although the high proof makes it hard to taste too much, I get some cinnamon and honey on the palate, along with a good dose of wood on the finish.


Nose: More of the same—honey, vanilla, and butterscotch. Oddly, I notice less of the stone fruit note than I did tasting it neat, though I do get some wood.

Palate: Substantially more inviting, now with a velvety texture and notes of allspice, hay, apricot, and maple syrup, as well as honey and oak. It has a substantial, creamy character, like caramel buttercream.


Although this bourbon is downright eye-watering neat—the extremely high proof feels a little like a stunt geared at waxed-mustache types—cut with a little water, it’s quite a nice whiskey. The logic of leaving a whiskey like this at barrel strength is that drinkers can choose their preferred level of dilution, which isn’t something I particularly care about, but others might appreciate.

In any case, it’s a sturdy, well-executed bourbon, with a nice range of flavors.