We’re just now catching up with Booker’s, which is spending 2015 and beyond releasing some different, limited-release versions of this beloved bourbon brand. Booker’s may not be my go-to bourbon brand, but I have an immense respect for the craftmanship that Fred Noe puts into it and the depth of flavor it provides whenever I sample its charms.
Today we’re looking at the fourth monthly release, “Oven Buster Batch,” which is an uncut, unfiltered bourbon bottled after 6 years, 5 months, and 20 days. (What, no hours?)
Why “Oven Buster”?
“I’ve always been fond of cooking with bourbon,” said Annis Wickham Noe, wife of Booker and mother of Fred. “Years ago, as I was preparing a pork roast, I mistakenly reached for a bottle of my husband’s namesake bourbon to pour over the roast. The oven sparked from the bourbon’s high proof and the door flew open — that’s how the Oven Buster nickname was born!”
As with any Booker’s release, this is a racy one, the nose laden with alcohol and ample (but not overdone) wood. Maybe some mesquite? There’s ample vanilla of course, plus some mint that wafts up with some milk chocolate, too. On the palate, it’s rich with winey notes — think Port and chocolate — plus dense wood. More mint here on the tongue, particularly on the finish, which also offers a bit of fresh berry fruit. There’s plenty of youth in this whiskey, with some popcorn and more raw elements, but the frontier style gives this a bit more character than cigar-room character that off-the-rack Booker’s tends to have.
You might think water is a plus here, and while it certainly helps to dull the alcohol, it really does a number to the sweeter and fruitier components of the whiskey. If you must (and I understand if you must), add water by the drop, not by the splash.
A- / $60 / bookersbourbon.com