Booker’s Bourbon: Don’t Just Throw It Back

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Booker's is bourbon "straight from the barrel"

Booker’s Bourbon Tommy’s Batch, the latest release, is a big, bold henna-hued bourbon that features rich tobacco, oak and vanilla notes that meld with dried spice notes.

Booker's Bourbon is uncut and unfiltered. Or, as Booker Noe II — the legendary master distiller of Jim Beam who is the bourbon's namesake — put it, it's bourbon "straight from the barrel."

Produced in small batches from a blend of barrels aged on the middle shelves within Jim Beam's nine-story rack houses, the whiskey is distilled at a lower proof than the distillery's other bourbons, to derive more flavor from the spirit, and aged until Booker — or later, his son Fred Noe — determined it had developed the right vanilla out of the barrel and the right warm finish.

Back in 1989, when Jim Beam first sold Booker's Bourbon (Booker initially produced the whiskey as a Christmas gift for distributors and other friends), the notion of a premium bourbon comparable to a single-malt Scotch or cognac was ludicrous. The whiskey wasn't like anything else and required some explanation.

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Read on to learn more about Booker’s Bourbon in the Chicago Tribune.