Whiskey Review: Baker’s Bourbon

, | November 19, 2015

Baker's Bourbon Bourbon seems to be reigning supreme in the ever-changing world of whiskey.  Even the most casual of bourbon drinkers is sure to recognize Jim Beam as the most visible label in the growing marketplace. Baker’s 7 year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey comes from the folks at Beam Suntory as part of the Original Small Batch Bourbon Collection along with Booker’s, Basil Hayden’s, and Knob Creek.

The inherent merits of a “small batch” distinction are subject to much dispute. It is the experience, though, we are reviewing today of one of the spirit world’s most sprawling bourbon lineages. This particular release is the namesake of Jim Beam’s grandnephew, Baker Beam. Bottled at 53.5% ABV (107 proof), whiskey enthusiasts can own a bottle for themselves for around $55.

In a time when age statements are quickly disappearing  — looking at you, Jim Beam Black — I was pleased to see the label clearly indicate that this bourbon had been aged 7 years. Not that age by itself is an indicator of quality, but rather I just happen to appreciate any information the manufacturer is willing to share with me as a consumer to give me more of an appreciation for what exactly I am consuming. Read: I am a giant nerd and I like knowing things.

The nicely-appointed label adorns a bottle that seems more at home in a wine cellar than a bourbon shelf. It is an interesting aesthetic departure, further defining the bourbon as being in line with Booker’s rather than standard Jim Beam. Cracking the wax seal around the cork was a bit of a sticky mess, though. On to the experience of the bourbon itself.

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Appearance: Smooth caramel-amber.

Nose: Charred oak, cinnamon, caramel.

Palate: Cinnamon, the sweetness is distinctly more vanilla than caramel, silky mouth feel, hint of oak getting stronger towards the finish.

Finish: Enjoyable burn, warm oak notes on the tail end that linger after the burn. Truth be told, I would prefer a little longer of a burn.

This stuff is quite good. I would file this under the “dangerously drinkable” label in my personal stash. At first glance, the 107 proof designation might give the impression of a real burner, however it is precisely the warmth from the alcohol that saves this bourbon from falling off into the realm of being sickly sweet.

Dealing in volume over a number of generations has allowed the folks at Jim Beam to have a level of self-awareness over their own product that few in the industry could rival. It seems with Baker’s they have found a balance between variables to create a very enjoyable bourbon experience.

I score Baker’s Bourbon 88 points.

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Joshua St. John

When not sampling whiskey, Joshua St. John can most likely be found running the trails of the Pacific Northwest surrounding his home in Portland, Oregon. A lifelong world-traveler, Joshua was first introduced to single malts while visiting distilleries in Scotland, and continues to explore the world through the countless interpretations...