Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Booker's Rating: 99

"I'm not going to lie that smells like pure gasoline." Those are the words that go through your head when you pull the wax  off the top of a bottle of Booker's. I guess I should have known to expect a stout bourbon when the guy working the cash register at the bottle store said I better buy some bottled water to go with it. 
Some background info is in order. I bought the Booker's because I am from a town called Booker. Hopefully they are marketing this stuff to more than just people from my hometown who think the novelty is just too good to pass up, even at $55 a bottle. 
Packaging: As you can see in the picture, it is rather plain looking. Apparently they used some sophisticated computers to make the label look hand written as though you might believe that these bottles are in such limited supply that someone hand wrote everything out. I might have been fooled, but I don't think anyone could write on the curve of a bottle that good. I must admit, I like the wood box it comes in. Some how it seems like if you spend over $50 on a bottle of bourbon they should include a box. Since I was giving this to my buddy as a graduation present, it made it easier to wrap. 

Taste
: The taste is very bold. So much so it almost burns your lips. I can't imagine trying to drink this without water. I have never spoken to anyone who has either. Or at least that enjoyed it that way. Its over 120 proof, and you feel every bit of it. Apparently this is "uncut" and not in a Jewish way, but rather they stuck a spout in the barrel, poured it in to the bottle, and stuck a wax top on it. 
I love this. Hands down my favorite bourbon. Several of us here at the the Review, consider Booker's to be the measure for all other bourbons. Since it is such a pure form of bourbon it makes for a good measuring stick. Most of the taste is at a particular extreme. Still, someone with the right amount of water it manages to be both oaky and sweet at the same time. In my mind, this is the perfect bourbon.

--Nic

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15 comments:

Mitch said...

I looove Bookers and have been drinking it for about 3 years. But I dont see why you are making such a fuss about drinking it with water. I have only ever sipped it straight and uncut. I never water it down and never will. Thats kinda the point of Bookers isnt it? The jim beam distillery basically waters down its Bookers to make all the rest of its offerings. IE. Jim beam Original, Bakers, Basil Haydins.

Mitch said...

I looove Bookers and have been drinking it for about 3 years. But I dont see why you are making such a fuss about drinking it with water. I have only ever sipped it straight and uncut. I never water it down and never will. Thats kinda the point of Bookers isnt it? The jim beam distillery basically waters down its Bookers to make all the rest of its offerings. IE. Jim beam Original, Bakers, Basil Haydins.

Melvin said...

I think you will find Booker's is at its best over a small amount of ice (preferably distilled ice), and his brother, Knob Creek, sans ice.

Subudhist said...

Had my first glass of Bookers yesterday, straight. It was lovely. Sweet and firery. Smooth and savory.

Margot Gerritsen said...

Love Bookers. Always drink it straight. No ice, no water. It's perfect that way. Just so smooth, I cannot believe sometimes it's 124 proof.

Eugene Canzano said...

I first tried Booker's at a private event in Louisville, Kentucky in 2013. I was shocked at how smooth and wonderful it was sipped uncut and without ice. Because I was informed of the proof of the Booker's before trying my first sip, I braced myself for a harsh overpoweringly strong sip. Was I ever surprised! It was smooth, wonderful, and pleasant. I have switched to Booker's as my bourbon of choice wherever I can get it. It makes a wonderful gift. Do beware, it can sneak up on you faster than you think. The perfect bourbon!

Rubiks Cuber said...

As far as bourbons, I only buy bookers. Don't let the proof bother you. Do not add water or ice until you had it straight from the "barrel". It is the smoothest 130 proof you will ever have.

There is a mild burn which I expect. Why water it down. I know that the smallbatch.com website mentions water but at least try it on it's own first

Alan Edwards said...

Drinking Booker's is like swallowing oak splinters! It is flavorful, but I can’t get past the overwhelming, harsh, bitter burning sensation, all the way down. Yes, I watered it to my preferred proof, and even further. And you know what I get? A watery burn instead of a rich and flavorful burn. I even tried it with ice–which I rarely do–but it still burns. I gave it several tries. I let it sit for quite a while between tries to oxidize. I even aerated it. It’s still harsh, bitter and painful to swallow. There are so many great bourbons out there, like Four Roses Single Barrel, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel, Angel’s Envy, Stagg Jr, E.H. Taylor, Rock Hill Farms, Wild Turkey Rare Breed. Each and every one of those blows Booker’s right out of the water. Don’t waste your time or money with this. The Beam distillers obviously do not know how (or are unwilling to) to cut out the nasty heads and tails from the distillation run. Same with Heaven Hill distillates. I’ve tried many, many bourbons; but if you don’t believe me, taste Bookers side-by-side with anything from Four Roses, Wild Turkey or Buffalo Trace. Life’s too short to choke down nasty bourbon like this.

John Fields said...

Booker's is probably my favorite. Has a very very intense flavor, even melted into ice. But I like lots of others, depending on what I want at the time... Others I like are Wild Turkey, WT Rare Breed, Knob Hill, anything from Buffalo Trace..especially Weller 107, Elmer T Lee, hmmm, and I'm thinking now, many others... Alan, you might not like a rye mix, it adds some heat. Try Elmer T Lee...so smooth...

Alan Edwards said...

John, No, I've tried at least 70 different bourbons. Bookers has the harshest biting burn of all of them. Taste them side by side. I've learned that anything from Four Roses, and anything above $25 from Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey are going to be smooth and delicious, and anything from Beam or Heaven Hill are going to have that biting, bitter, harsh burn to some degree. Bookers is the worst of them I've tasted.

Alan Edwards said...

I love rye-forward bourbons. Four Roses have the most rye, and is my favorite distillery. Rye is sweet-savory-spicy and dilly. I know bourbon, inside and out.

Alan Edwards said...

John, if you like intensity, there are plenty of very flavorful, but smooth bourbons out there. Try Wild Turkey Rare Breed (~56%) or Four Roses Single Barrel (50%). Try to find E H Taylor (50%) and especially Stagg Jr. (barrel strength ~66%) Cheers!

John Fields said...

i strongly disagree.. Ive had all of those and many many more. i haven't been in a liquor store in the last 16 years that had anything i haven't tried or purchased. rare breed is probably my second favorite. i don't like the same thing over and over...depends on how i feel, but booker's is consistently a favorite of mine, while being slightly inconsistent, if that makes sense, and it should for an unblended barrel proof. I agree that booker's is pretty hot right out of the bottle, you might want to let it sink into the ice a little longer... or try cleaner ice or water... if you are drinking it neat, i understand your point. otherwise, we have different tastes.. my problem, these days, is that i moved to south carolina, where liquor is much more expensive than in california. i get my bourbon from the wine experience these days... about 35 dollars for a bottle of booker's, or less, if they have a three bottle special...

Alan Edwards said...

Sorry to hear liquor is expensive in SC. I did try ice with the Bookers and all I got was a watery burn. Maybe there is a particular chemical that I'm sensitive to that the others posting here are not. I love variety also. But there are a few that I always seem to return to: Four Roses (all three), anything at or above the Eagle Rare-level of Buffalo Trace offerings, and Rare Breed. I rarely drink them neat (except the ones already below 45%). If you are ever in Florida, or nearby, I HIGHLY recommend looking out for Palm Ridge Reserve. It is unique, and amazing! Unfortunately, I have to have it shipped to California (expensive), but that is also one of my go-to's. Cheers!

John Fields said...

Yeah!!! so am i!!!! Thought anyplace would be cheaper then California for anything. Found out that food and liquor are much much cheaper in California. As for your problem with Booker's, I have a similar problem with Jim Beam...I just cant drink it.. and if I force it, I get sick. Tried it over and over and over... NOW!! I don't think there is anything wrong with it, Jim Beam makes many great bourbons, including two of my favorites...but i just cant drink it.. My problem, I'm sure... This is pretty strange..n my friends think so also.. Haven't experienced this with other spirits... U know, i haven't had Palm Ridge Reserve. I will try it. Thank you!