Don’t let the high proof scare you away – Booker’s is easy to drink, and even novice bourbon enthusiasts can appreciate the craftsmanship. But you must respect the Booker’s – the burn is there and will put you back in your place if you get too eager.
The nose the first warning that presents itself – char, sulfur, and ethyl…almost like a volcano with a hint of vanilla. As if the Booker’s can sense my apprehension, it transforms its nose on the second whiff into leather and citrus. Some have told me that they didn’t get alcohol on the nose at first whiff. I don’t know what the hell they were smelling, but it is definitely there. On third whiff there is heavy vanilla and some nice spice. I have had many a Booker’s in my day, and every whiff and sip is just a little different from the others.
Booker’s is crafted with a high corn mash bill (70+%) with the remainder being somewhere around 15% rye. It shows everywhere in the taste. Again, Booker’s bourbon should be respected and sipped with care, as the first sip can be a little hot. Despite the high proof, the heat is nowhere near as fierce as one would expect, and instead I am greeted with honey and happiness. Vanilla and orange peel roll in behind leather and oak. Leather, pecan, honey and cherry flavors make for a superior tasting experience.
The finish is long, dry, and leaves my gums tingly. The spice kick from the rye lasts…and lasts…and lasts…and you get the point. Its heavy, creamy mouth-feel leaves you with a smile on your face long after you have swallowed. You get your money’s worth in the finish.
The burn, the long finish, and the deep flavors makes Booker’s my favorite winter time warmup bourbon. I have also called it my “bad day bourbon”, because whatever problems you were having that day, you wont remember after a three-finger pour!