bdawson57 says on January 16, 2021
For me, Booker’s 2020-02 Boston Batch tastes like what a high proof Basil Hayden’s might be, definitely not what I’ve come to expect from a bottle of Booker’s. The aroma is good; the typical fruit, sweet and nut flavors I look for are missing. It’s not bad, in fact Boston Batch would be a pretty good $40-$45 bourbon. The trouble here, Booker’s is priced as a premium bourbon. Boston Batch does not meet the expectations of my palate or wallet. Fred what have you done! Dad told you, “… don’t mess with my Booker’s!”
BOOKER’S 2020-02 BOSTON BATCH VITAL STATS:
Region: Kentucky, USA
Distiller: Jim Beam, Master Distiller Fred Noe
Classification: Small Batch Bourbon
Batch: 2020-02 “Boston Batch”
Mash bill: 77% Corn, 13% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Casks: New Charred Oak
Barrel Char: #4
Barrel Entry Proof: 125
Age: 6 Years, 3 months, 10 days
ABV: 63.25% (126.5 Proof)
Price: $84.95 (August 2020, Idaho)
MASTER DISTILLER NOTES:
Batch 2020-02 is made up of barrels from three different production dates stored in four different locations rickhouses. The breakdown of the barrel storage is as follows:
33% came from the 5th floor of 9-story warehouse G
29% came from the 5th floor of 7-story warehouse Z
27% came from the 6th floor of 9-story warehouse H
11% came from the 3rd floor of 7-story warehouse 5
For the evaluation, I poured into Glencairn glasses from a previously opened bottle.
The score below is similar to what I rewarded in my reviews of Angel’s Envy, Baker’s Bourbon Batch B-90-001, Col. E.H. Taylor Single Barrel, Dry Fly Straight Wheat Whiskey, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A119, Henry McKenna Single Barrel, Knob Creek 9 yr Small Batch, Larceny Kentucky Bourbon, Maker’s Mark, Willet Pot Still Reserve, Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch, and Yellowstone Select.
The aroma of Booker’s 2020-02 Boston Batch hints of greatness. Like most Booker’s offerings it starts dry, offering a quick burn of alcohol and just a trace of ethanol. After all, this is a 126.5 proof bourbon. Subsequent nosings bring an aire of light fruit tree blossoms, sweet corn and dusty grain with a trace of minted tobacco. While difficult to discern, there is a dark fresh fruit component; maybe blackberries or currants and even a bit of blood orange, but all are quite muted. Allspice, cinnamon, powdered ginger, and yeasty rye, almost bready waft with prolonged nosing. (I want to take my first sip.) Yet I detect little sweet or the nuttiness I’ve come to expect from a Booker’s – maybe a trace of vanilla taffy or caramel corn tailings found in a near empty snack bag. But where the fruit, spice and sweets are subdued, woodiness of seasoned dry old oak, toasted wood, even heavy and hazy barrel char abound.
I was salivating from the aromas and held the first sip long, letting it tickle my tongue. My second sip included a Kentucky Chew before the swallow. Booker’s 2020-02 Boston Batch doesn’t drink like 128.5 proof, but unfortunately this is the only trait which follows other Booker’s bourbons I’ve enjoyed. Boston Batch’s flavors are fleeting: dusty grain, orange zest, dark fruit leather and an essence of eucalyptus – not cough drop harsh, but unexpected just the same. I detected no sweetness and none of the trademark Jim Beam nuttiness to counter the pepper and rye. But there is an abundance of dry oak, toasted wood and hazy barrel char … almost ashy on the tongue. All this barrel influence nearly overpowers the faintness of rubbed leather as each sip is downed.
Balance, Body, Feel and Look:
The dry finish of Booker’s 2020-02 Boston Batch is long and offers a lingering warm bite to the back of the tongue. The bourbon is silken, creamy and seemingly well blended yet each taste is unexpected; almost to what a high proof Basil Hayden’s might aspire. In the Glencairn, the liquid veil breaks into a curtain of fat legs which return quickly to the auburn colored pool. I wish this whiskey offered more.
There’s so much more on the nose of Booker’s 2020-02 Boston Batch than can be found on the palate or finish. The finish is long and lingering with a dark indistinct and almost offensive fruit leather aftertaste. My tongue and throat are warm, almost hot as bourbony pepper and rye dominate. And as found on the nose and palate, dry oak toasted barrels and hazy char linger. When emptied, the Glencairn smells of sawdust from fresh sawn oak plywood.