Bourbon By Nino Kilgore-Marchetti / June 4, 2019 Kentucky bourbon distilleries are always full of old stories and lore, some of which end up becoming fodder for a whiskey release tie up. Booker’s Bourbon is one premium bourbon label in particular that goes down that rabbit hole regularly, with the latest bottling certainly being no exception. The focus this time is on an old tradition that inadvertently helped distillers know the locations of some of the best barrels in the rackhouse. Booker’s Bourbon 2019-02 “Shiny Barrel Batch,” according to those behind it, is so named from a bygone distillery “tradition” whereby there were certain barrels rackhouse workers liked to sneak a taste or two of whiskey from using plastic tubing – called “mules” – that they carried in their overalls. In doing so, their bellies would rub on the side of the barrel, removing dust and shining it up. Some reportedly used to say, “the shiner the barrel, the sweeter the whiskey,” and those shiny barrels were often found in the center cut of the rackhouse where the temperature and humidity were just right. Booker’s Bourbon 2019-02 “Shiny Barrel Batch (image via Beam-Suntory) When one time Beam master distiller Booker Noe was ready to lay down the first barrels of the bourbon that would eventually bear his name, it is said he knew it had to be in the same area of the rackhouse as “the shiny barrels.” Current master distiller and son of Booker Noe Fred Noe continues to this day to draw from barrels in those same middle floors for Booker’s Bourbon. Shiny Barrel Batch, like all Booker’s before it, is uncut, clocking in at 124 proof. It is a little over 6.5 years in age, and is said to offer flavor wise “a sweet nose with a beautiful chestnut color and rich vanilla notes that are signature of Booker’s Bourbon. The finish is medium and warm.” It prices around $80 and is best enjoyed neat, over ice or with a few drops of water.