Review: Booker’s Bourbon “Booker’s Country Ham” 2019-03 and “Beaten Biscuits” 2019-04
Lately the Booker’s special edition bourbon releases have hit us faster than we can keep up. Our overload is your gain, as we take the opportunity to do a head to head of the two most recent whiskeys in this burgeoning collection, both of which dropped in the latter months of 2019.
Booker’s Bourbon “Booker’s Country Ham” 2019-03 – Aged 6 years, 4 months, and 2 days – named in honor of Booker Noe’s beloved pastime of curing ham. Why not? The whiskey showcased a burly barrel char up front, tempered with butterscotch, red pepper, and heavy dosing of coffee bean. On the palate, the bourbon presents itself as a more straightforward barrel-proof experience, with bold caramel, vanilla, and some chocolate notes all informed by a modest layer of spice. The finish is meatier than expected — ham, indeed — with a thicker layer of spice and lingering char. Water is a great benefit here, bringing forth a strong brown butter note. All told this is one of the more straightforward and unsurprising releases in the series, though it’s still worth some attention. 124.7 proof. B+
Booker’s Bourbon “Beaten Biscuits” 2019-04 – What goes with ham? Biscuits — specifically the small, cracker-like biscuits that Noe obsessed over. This bottling is aged 6 years, 6 months, and 19 days. The nose here is quite savory, with heavy char and some cloves, but showing a curious edge of ripe banana. The whiskey takes a dramatic swing to sweetness as the palate soon evokes a strong fruit character and a big butter note. It’s spicy, with ample notes of cinnamon red hots, but the finish is soothing, with notes of red fruit mixed in with the cinnamon. Immediately more complex and intriguing than 2019-03, here the burly nose and sweet palate come together delightfully to achieve a closer representation of Booker’s at its best. 126.1 proof. A-
each $80 / bookersbourbon.com