American Whiskey - Bourbon

Booker's Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Rating Information

  • Proof66 Rating
    523 / 891
    Rabble Rating
    4.5 / 5.0
    Price (USD)
    $50
    Proof
    127.0

Rating Description

92nd Percentile
This score falls in the 92nd percentile of all spirits in the Whiskey category and is an example of the very best in its class.
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Proof66 Notes

Booker's bourbon is part of Jim Beam's "small batch collection," which is intended to compete directly with the most premium of ultra-premium bourbons and whiskeys sweeping the market.

Booker's Bourbon is Jim Beam's invention of the "single barrel bourbon." It is the bourbon taken straight from the barrel in all its unfiltered, high proof glory. It's aged between six and eight years in American oak. Jim Beam suggets mixing with spring water to "taste," which is almost a necessity given its high proof.

This was featured on BlueKitchen.net as part of their Best Bourbon Tour with an overall grade of A-. They caution against "spitting it into your campfire" as it "clocks in at 126 proof."

We had our own thoughts about this whiskey after a tasting run by Master Distiller Fred Noe.

This bottle has 28 ratings and 26 reviews.
Cranecreek Cranecreek (35) (2016-01-09)
Awesome Bourbon ! check out my notes on the nose: Raisin-leather-Maple-Sweet Oak-Fig-Dark Honey-Sweet Cigar Box-Graham crackers with spun honey-Black current and Fruitcake batter ! Now for the best part. ALL of the nose carries through to the taste. I personally refer to these rich 5 stars as "Christmas Bourbon" or "Fireplace Bourbon". A bourbon to be savored. Every sip unleashes a concert of creamy Bourbon goodness. It's the kind of bourbon that can take you back to past memories. There are other Bourbons of this same quality and I don't think you have to go past that $60 mark to enjoy them. This bourbon is 63.95% alcohol, so plan on some dilution to enjoy. Also keep in mind this is vintage Bourbon. The Bookers I reviewed here is the C2014-05. Aged for 7 years 5 months. Other vintages may have different expressions.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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StanMemTn StanMemTn (94) (2015-12-28)
A very tasty cask proof bourbon. It has all the right bourbon notes in a pleasing proportion. This one benefits from an ice ball. Oaky, leathery notes provide a memorable finish.
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US Spirit US Spirit (46) (2015-12-06)
Booker's was my second cask strength bourbon (Wild Turkey Rare Breed was my first). I ordered this with my birthday dinner last year (the restaurant gave me at LEAST a double), and I was both excited and a bit nervous. Excited because this stuff has a pretty incredible reputation. Nervous because its 120 proof and Beam already held the record for harshest 80 proof spirit I've ever tried (White Label) and harshest 100 proof spirit I've ever tried (Knob Creek). My experience turned out not to be overwhelming in either sense though. Although this is at least 10% stronger than Knob Creek and anywhere from 1-3 years younger, the burn is not terrible. I ordered this neat, but hedged my bets by getting glass of ice water for a chaser. Oddly enough, this did not burn at all neat, but all I could smell or taste was alcohol. It was like thick brown vodka, only moreso, it had even more alcohol character than any vodka I've ever tried. I fished a 2 small ice cubes out of my ice water and that opened it up, and (oddly) brought out some burn (though it still wasn't terrible). Before I finished, I also added 1/2 an ounce of water to my 3-4 oz of whiskey. I got a bunch of different nuances of caramel and vanilla, a little bit of oak and a lot of alcohol. The body of the whiskey felt thick and viscous on my tongue- almost oily. Somehow this almost felt like a layered drink , one sip would taste mostly of alcohol, the next would be a rich slightly vanilla-y caramel. I found I had to sip this slowly because it was so rich. Although I had only 1 other drink that night (a double of Angel's Envy), I could not quite finish my double/four ounces of Bookers. All in all, I enjoyed this, and will taste it again. Cask strength bourbon is a different experience and its possible, even likely, that my own pallet isn't mature enough to appreciate this particular one fully yet Bookers was good, though I didn't feel like it was quite worth the price to me personally. That's what lands this at 4.5 stars for me (I won't round up to 5). It was good, but not to the point where I'm willing to pay the $50-$60 it would cost me for a whole bottle. If you like bourbon, you should try Booker's at some point, but as at least 1 other reviewer pointed out, do NOT jump straight from an 80 proof spirit like Jack Daniels straight into this. Apparently its still a long jump from a 100 proof spirit to this. All in all, my hat is off to Beam though, this is still a fairly unique product and one I never would have guessed they could do well.
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sixfoot sixfoot (5) (2015-10-29)
One of my all time top 5 favs. Great taste and very smooth.
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KaiserSoze KaiserSoze (93) (2015-10-26)
I think this bruiser might be my new favorite bourbon. Peanut butter, cayenne pepper, and bacon on the nose. Toffee, pecan pie, and very dark fruits on the palate and a nice long, warming finish. For being such a high ABV it's incredibly smooth and only requires a splash of water. I wish it was a little cheaper but even at $55, it's a phenomenal bourbon! A must try!
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lpy89 lpy89 (173) (2015-10-15)
Like others mentioned, this beast must be tamed with varying measures of dilution to your taste, as straight up it's gonna simply hurt your nose (along with some mild headache) and possibly miss out on the intense vanilla, caramel, oaky and fruity character of this bourbon. For me, just splash of water helps me bring out those characters and is very smooth considering the high proof. Generally i prefer spirits straight up, but this is one of those products where adding water would truly turn your booker's experience from bad to greatness.
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Whisky&Rebellion Whisky&Rebellion (5) (2015-08-07)
Sweet on the nose, hot and smooth on the tongue. Poured neat this blasts your nose with all the usual suspects in a traditional bourbon: vanilla, light oak, with some brown sugar bringing up the rear. Sipped, it opens hot before relaxing into strong, creamy, vanilla tones with some underlying pepper announcing the presence of rye and alcohol. With a few drops of water the high-octane nature of this bourbon eases up. The aromas become more subdued across the board with some new smells sneaking through. My first thoughts were of caramel. Your sip evens out, with a smooth vanilla taste from front to back. All in all, an excellent bourbon that demands to be contemplated in stages. A must-have for lovers of cask-strength whiskies.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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jaketaz jaketaz (163) (2015-03-27)
I love high proof bourbon and rye, so I admit this review is biased. That said, this is one of my favorite things to drink, and I've found over the years that high-proof whiskeys tend to paradoxically taste smoother than normal 80-proofers, especially with a dab of water. It doesn't have a lot of flavor complexity, but the couple of flavors it does have are very up-front and defined: caramel, oak, stonefruit. I actually go for this in a Manhattan, it does mix well. It is really the opposite of Jim Beam and is the best thing by FAR that distillery makes. A bourbon heavyweight that plays well with others, this is part of my holy trinity of high proofs, the other two being Bone Snapper Rye and Stagg Jr.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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Joebazz Joebazz (25) (2015-02-12)
A tasty bourbon, quite different than most bourbons. Its a strong in your face Bourbon.A very high proof bourbon better to cool it down with some ice.
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scollings scollings (83) (2014-06-12)
Other than the 12 year Brandy finish Jim Beam, this is my favorite of the Beam line. It is best neat, but must be approached with some care and respect. It is incredibly smooth for 127 proof, but it will still hurt you if you are careless. Booker's puts the "sip" in sipping whiskey.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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Muncher Muncher (261) (2014-05-17)
Though I normally have my drinks neat, this one requires either a cube or a shot of water. It's like having every instrument in the orchestra blowing at max volume otherwise. It really is a delicious pour, but you might have to use a little trial and error to find your own sweet spot for the amount of dilution.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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maximx1 maximx1 (1) (2014-03-08)
The absolute best bourbon that I've ever tasted. Very warm, smooth, and definitely smoky. Before today my favorite was Maker's Mark, so think that but better. You will want to take this one slowly!
0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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Allan Allan (159) (2014-02-17)
Tried it at first and immediately went for the ice cubes. A little hot but a little cool water melted in does wonders! Opens up to have a mild smoke with a nice touch of sweet vanilla from the oak with a hint of fruit in the middle. Smooths out well to a bit of a drier finish but now where near bitter. An excellent choice.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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JamesCThatsMe JamesCThatsMe (12) (2013-11-22)
As others have said, this is not a beginners whiskey. Not because it is too strong, it would just be a shame to not fully appreaciate all the flavor. Fruit, vanilla, caramel, and a little smokey too. To be such a high proof it is remarkabley smooth. I prefer it over a few cubes of ice as it slowly adds some water and opens up the the whiskey. It also cuts a bit of bite out of it. Definitely a sipping whiskey, and by far my favorite.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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NeatPour NeatPour (172) (2013-08-06)
It's the bomb, but it's something you work your way to. It's strong, so I'd recommend making this the pinnacle of your evening. I like to walk guests through buffalo trace, 1972, Blanton's, four roses 101, before landing at this beautiful bourbon. If you love bourbon, & you drink it neat, I can almost guarantee that this sexy cask strength bottle will win a permanent spot on your bar!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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Irishman Irishman (268) (2013-06-20)
This isn't a bottle you go after quickly or you'll be drooling on the floor with the dog. Mix with a couple ice cubes and a very small splash of water to bring out the full flavor of this wonderful whiskey.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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joelbarrett joelbarrett (58) (2013-03-21)
Awesome.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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geoffk geoffk (1) (2013-01-22)
Not for the neophyte, this is a add water or a couple cubes of ice and sip kind of spirit. I have had many bottles of this over the years and can attest to the fact that there is some variance between barrels. Can be found easily sub $50 and in bc liquor stores (notoriously higher price in Canada) for around $55. Must have in bar in my opinion.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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TimeToGoHome TimeToGoHome (32) (2012-07-26)
Bought this for my bourbon drinking brother.  Cracked it open with him and some freinds.  The bottle did not last the night.  Everone loved it.  A few drank it neat others with ice.  Smooth, powerful, tasty.  Have to save up for another bottle.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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jdblou jdblou (1) (2012-05-12)
Has a good oak flavor. Also a fair amount of heat. Liked it better cut with a few ice cubes added.
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Capman62 Capman62 (1) (2012-02-05)
This is a tremendous whiskey, with bold, sweet, syrupy flavor. The high alcohol content is not as intense as one might imagine. For those accustomed to bourbon, it drinks smoothly.
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ReligionSucketh ReligionSucketh (17) (2011-12-17)
I am a bit biased, because this is my absolute favorite sipping whisk(e)y, regardless of style or country of origin. Big, oaky, smoky and sweet, with vanilla, caramel and fruit. Big flavors, but not as intense as one would expect from a bourbon that ranks 120-130 proof. I've had a few lower proof whiskies that felt stronger. That said, I still would not recommend this to whiskey novices. I've seen several friends try to jump from Jack or Jameson to this and they swear they will never try it again, simply because it's much stronger and more complex than the average 80 proof whiskey.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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jaycamm jaycamm (9) (2011-04-03)
This is big boy bourbon. Not for beginners. It is also one of the best. Bold as hell.
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hoosier09 hoosier09 (6) (2011-03-31)
Mix with a bit of water to open up the flavors. Unbelievably smooth for such a high proof.
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jfatt340 jfatt340 (15) (2010-08-05)
It's good, spend a little more to get a bottle from the antique collection.
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danurdan danurdan (18) (2009-02-04)
Got this one for Christmas from my whiskey-lovin' brother. Even he couldn't do more than one glass of the stuff. It IS smooth for a 127 proof whiskey, but still has an overpowering taste. Best mixed with a little water or ice.
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  • 080686011408
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