Booker’s 25th Anniversary

Booker’s 25th Anniversary Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Batch 2014-01, Aged 10 Yrs 3 Mths

65.4% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
In honor of 25 years, Booker’s® Bourbon is giving bourbon enthusiasts a reason to celebrate with a limited edition release of an exclusive bottling that is the most unique liquid produced to date. Batch No. 2014-1 pays homage to its namesake, 6th Generation Beam Master Distiller, Booker Noe, who was a lot like his favorite bourbon: uncut, unfiltered and straight up.

To mark this occasion in bourbon history, Booker’s son, Beam Family’s 7th Generation Master Distiller and 2013 Bourbon Hall of Fame Inductee, Fred Noe, and Booker’s grandson, Freddie Noe, selected barrels that were aged longer than any Booker’s® Bourbon batch to-date – ensuring an exceptional, one-of-a-kind flavor to honor Booker and his legacy. The barrels were among the last that Booker laid down in the rack house before he passed away.

“One of Dad’s last requests for me was to take care of his Booker’s®, and we plan to do just that by sharing it with you all, which I know he would have done himself,” said Fred Noe. “This will be a special bottling for our loyal fans of Booker’s® – they have never ever had one that is going to taste like this particular batch.”

With a robust vanilla nose and wide range of flavors – from oak tannin to mocha notes – this exclusive and extremely limited batch has a deep taste with a smooth finish.

Booker’s® Bourbon, inspired by a 200-year-old family tradition, came to life when Booker Noe selected the first bottles of Booker’s® as holiday gifts for his friends and family. With its instant popularity within Noe’s close circle, Booker’s® Bourbon was soon after bottled and made available on shelves for everyone to enjoy. Twenty-five years later, Booker’s® Bourbon Batch No. 2014-1 is taken from the center-cut of Booker’s favorite rack house, bottled at its natural proof, uncut, unfiltered and extra aged to bring out the true flavor profile of this small batch bourbon.

Available in select markets now and nationally in early March, Booker’s® Bourbon Batch No.2014-1 comes inside a commemorative wooden case and was selected with the following characteristics:

  • Proof: 121 – 130
  • Age: 9 – 11 years
  • Nose: Vanilla
  • Finish: Long, smooth finish
  • Sipping Suggestions: With ice or cut with water

What Gary Says:
Nose: Very bold, benefits from some water which tones down the heat. Big oak monster, with cinnamon, vanilla and toffee. Some supporting citrusy notes. Even with water, the nose is sharp.
Palate: Thick mouthfeel even with water, and a sharp heat throughout; peppery baking spices, nutmeg, burnt bagels with a hint of anise and allspice.
Finish: Moderately long, with a pepper spice note that is dominant.
Comments: As a Booker’s fan, I was very much looking forward to this one. Short disclaimer – there likely is some variety from batch to batch, and I don’t know for certain which batch my sample came from. I had sampled this a couple of months ago and thought better of it than. I tried it over the course of several days, with similar impressions I’m presenting here. If you like Booker’s, this is what you would expect from 10 yr old Booker’s (more wood, bit sharper). Although for the price point (almost twice the price of a standard Booker’s), it might leave you disappointed.
Rating: Stands Out

What Richard Says:
Nose: This one comes out of the glass to get you. Pour it and walk away and you can smell it coming. Toffee, vanilla, churros, old worn and well oiled leather, and cured tobacco. If I were to make a bourbon cologne this would be it!
Palate: The nose can go with or without water but pass on adding water before drinking at your own risk. It drinks smoother than 130 proof but it’s still a scorcher. Even with water it’s viscous and aggressively spicy. The sweeter notes of the nose are less present here. More leather and tobacco but with heavier pepper, cinnamon, and wood char.
Finish: Not nearly as hot as I expected. There’s plenty of peppery notes and a dry wood but not overly so on either account. It fades nicely.
Comments: Wow, this one is a big bourbon monster! Booker’s fans will love it. Stagg fans will dig it too. If you are more partial to wheated bourbons then this may not be for you. It wears the rye like a flag flying off the back of a pickup truck. This is not for the faint of heart but it’s damn good bourbon. Tread lightly my friends.
Rating: Must Try

Event Notice: Jim Beam Tasting @ Mac MacGee

Jim Beam Tasting
Tuesday, February 3 @ 7:30 p.m.

Tonight our host Nick Windler from Georgia Crown Distributing will guide us through the delicious flavors of:
Basil Hayden’s
Jim Beam Bottled in Bond
Knob Creek Rye
All for $33.
Please RSVP at

We look forward to seeing you!

Cheers, Mac McGee


Jim Beam Signature Finished with Rare Spanish Brandy

Jim Beam Signature Craft Bourbon Whiskey Finished with Rare Spanish Brandy
43% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
A rich bourbon that is carefully aged, then finished with a touch of Rare Brandy to bring you lush, slightly sweet notes and hints of fruit.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Brandy is prominent, although you wouldn’t mistake it from bourbon for brandy; oak and cinnamon well represented, with some fruity undercurrents.
Palate: Dried apricots steeped in brandy, with vanilla and ginger. Soft and creamy mouthfeel at first. More wood than typical Jim Beam, but not loads of it. Fairly well balanced, although subtle all around
Finish: Medium to short, with just a bit of spice; slightly dry.
Comments: Important to note that this isn’t finished in a cask which held Spanish Brandy; this is finished WITH Spanish Brandy directly. Why is that important? Ok – I don’t really know, as I don’t have a bourbon finished in a Spanish Brandy cask to compare. The brandy presence is more than subtle, but it also isn’t over-done for me. The combination I find to be balanced nicely. My guess is that the bourbon was more than 4 yrs old, as I get more wood than I do in Jim Beam white label – but not a ton of wood. I would prefer to have tried this at a higher proof, as 86 proof Jim Beam just isn’t right in my wheelhouse, but for fans of Jim Beam who are looking to expand their horizons – this is a nice little jaunt, and is priced appropriately for something unique.
Rating: Stands Out

What Richard Says:
Nose: Beam cream? It’s got all the DNA of Jim Beam but there is a depth of creaminess to it that stands out. I’m curious about the type of fruit used in the brandy. It doesn’t give off the typical notes of grape brandy (cognac, etc.).
Palate: Now I’m getting the brandy. Much more sweet and fruity (dried pineapple pieces) in the mouth. Cinnamon, vanilla, and candied ginger.
Finish: Dry but not too woody with a little pepper on the back end.
Comments: This isn’t half bad. It’s probably my favorite of the first three Signature Craft U.S. releases. It drinks better than standard Beam and the brandy adds interesting complimentary pieces to the puzzle. I probably won’t buy a second bottle but I will enjoy the one I have.
Rating: Stands Out

Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask

Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask Finished Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
43% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
Introducing Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask. Base bourbon finished with a variety of fine quarter cask bourbons, all aged at least four years in smaller barrels. Boasting notes of vanilla, oak, and a hint of caramel, this spirit should be enjoyed neat or on the rocks.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Wood is forward while not overpowering; vanilla/caramel, with an odd pencil-eraser note.
Palate: Creamy, sweet, tapioca pudding and vanilla custard.
Finish: Short to medium length, and a tad on the dry side.
Comments: Who knows how much bourbon that was aged in quarter casks is in the mix, but as it seems that the goal of the Signature Craft series is to not venture too far from the Jim Beam path – I think they got it right. The nose was more woody than Jim Beam white label, but I didn’t get as much of that on the palate. It was plenty sweet, and had a nice mouthfeel. An interesting pour, and again – for fans of Jim Beam, probably worth the extra dough to try something you’re likely to enjoy while getting something a little different.
Rating: Stands Out

What Richard Says:
Nose: Caramelized bananas, cinnamon icing, sweet cornbread, and vanilla.
Palate: Hello woody. It does have a nice creamy corn pudding going on but that’s not what I look for in my bourbons.
Finish: It finishes hot and corny. It’s very much a young whiskey that absorbed too much oak.
Comments: Smaller barrels do not make better or faster whiskey. Done. Let’s move on. No need for folks to keep trying this. Really. I mean it. If this were $20 I would give it an average but at twice that price it’s an easy pass.
Rating: Probably Pass

Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 Year Old

Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 Year Old Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
43% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
Introducing the Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 Year. Our hand crafted bourbon is made from the finest ingredients available to our master distillers, and carries notes of caramel, deep vanilla and oak. Never compromised, this spirit should be savored neat or on the rocks.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Musty oak with cinnamon and vanilla; a hint of grapefruit; sugar cookies.
Palate: Rich mouthfeel, with hints of barrel char. Caramel and black cherry in vanilla ice cream.
Finish: Medium to long, with a bit of a woody note but nice overall.
Comments: So far this has been my favorite of the Signature Craft Series by Jim Beam. I think 12 yrs old is right about the sweet spot for my palate where the wood isn’t overpowering. I would love to taste this at a higher proof, but that’s just me. Contrast this with other 12 yr old bourbons (like Elijah Craig 12 yr), and the wood influences seems muted by comparison, but I think it is well done.
Rating: Must Try

What Richard Says:
Nose: Cinnamon, stewed cherries, vanilla cream sauce, and tart citrus notes.
Palate: Underflavored? I guess that’s best way to describe it. The nose is very appetizing but in the mouth it’s kind of blah. Caramel and oak predominate.
Finish: Woody but also kind of blah.
Comments: This one is a bit of a downward spiral. The nose has so much promise, the palate less so, and the finish even less. It’s a clear step up from the Jim Beam White and Black labels but still not terribly impressive. At around $40 you might be able to find a bottle of Baker’s (also made by Beam) if you look hard enough. That would be a much better option.
Rating: Average