Booker’s Bourbon is a small batch bourbon brand – indeed, their website claims to have invented the term “small batch” back in 1992. That claim seems implausible – although I suppose every marketing term has to get used for the first time at some stage – and of course even before then, distilleries were producing limited, cask strength bottlings.
Booker’s 7 Year Old True Barrel Bourbon is the label on today’s bottle, although it’s unclear precisely which batch it is. The distillery themselves give each batch a distinct name and code, but while all the ones from 2015 (six so far) are around the 7 year old mark, none have exactly the same 63.7% ABV strength. So it’s all a bit of a mystery!
The nose is obviously heavy with alcohol, although less than you may expect at such a high ABV. There is soft vanilla fudge and as it sits in the glass, a subtle wet wood dimension comes through along with just a hint of fresh lime juice.
Water opens the aromas up a lot – more oak, now lightly charred and with a lighter sugary sweetness.
In the mouth it starts with dark muscovado sugar, and just a touch of oak before the alcohol comes through and washes everything else away – it really is just too powerful to fully appreciate neat.
Watered, that initial sugar is a little muted. The oak still comes through, with a sightly nutty aspect as well. The finish is light but fantastically lingering, with a slightly acidic hit right at the back of the tongue – perhaps a touch of the lime juice from the aroma!
Not a subtle dram, but interesting and delicious – it feels like it’s half-way between scotch and bourbon. 4 stars, but unless you’re a braver soul than me, you’ll want to water it some.
Many thanks to Master of Malt for providing their excellent Bourbon Advent Calendar this year.