Editor’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.
As we recently wrote about, The Whiskey Wash has been curious to try the new Booker’s Rye whiskey. Well, the time has come to review said coveted, limited rye—and let me tell you, the wait was worth it.
Although the release is priced around the $300 mark, don’t let that hefty price tag dissuade you from searching out a taste of this unique and delectable dram. One of Booker Noe’s last personal projects put in barrels back in 2003 and just bottled recently, Booker’s Rye holds a special place in American whiskey history.
Beyond the significance of Booker Noe’s influence in the industry, this release is the first-ever rye from the Booker’s end of the Beam family. This is certainly a high-risk, high-reward situation, with the Beam small batch family of Booker’s, Baker’s, and Basil Hayden holding such clout in the current American whiskey diaspora.
Highly hyped and lauded, we now put Booker’s “Big Time Batch” Rye to the test.
Booker’s Rye (image via Beam Suntory)
Tasting Notes: Booker’s “Big Time Batch” Rye
Appearance: A dark, saturated auburn in the glass, Booker’s Rye certainly looks its 13+ years.
Nose: Although immediately spicy and grain-forward on the nose, the dram hardly seems as vaporous as its cask-strength of 136.2 proof made me believe it was going to be. Full, heavy burnt sugar elements rise to the top of the nose, backed by slight styrofoam notes.
After opening, orange marmalade and chocolate-covered malt marry for a rich, rye-heavy nose. Raisin bran and fresh, sweet hay round out the nose. Altogether, the nose proved sweet, spicy, and complex.
Palate: Spicy to start on the palate, as well as to finish—but pure velvet in the middle. Hot to start, with sweet rye cream on the way down, then a tingling, tannic finish. The incredible mouthfeel is matched only by the depth of the flavor present the entire tasting. Graham crackers with sea salt meld with creamy, almost sweet marscapone. The creamy mouthfeel and rich, salty elements of the dram combine to create a full snack-time experience: rye bread with Nutella and flakey sea salt, and a big ol’ glass of whole milk.
Tannic, spiced, and grain-forward on the finish, Booker’s Rye is without question an after dinner or bedtime dram. Decadent, creamy, and like a big bedtime hug from a pretzel.
While I never thought that I would taste a rye that was more dessert-like or outstanding than Angel’s Envy Rye, I do have to say that Booker’s might be giving Angel’s Envy a run for their money in terms of taste. In terms of price, Angel’s Envy still wins for value at under $100 per bottle.
For rye first-timers, Booker’s certainly appears to have smashed rye out of the park. Congratulations to them, and to whoever out there can snag a sip of this wonderful rye before it’s gone.
I am a graduate of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR whose Environmental Studies thesis focused on “Scotch Whisky, Sustainability, and Commodification of Nature & Culture”. While writing my thesis, I spent time living and studying in Glasgow, Scotland where I visited and interviewed distilleries nationwide, concentrating on the...