Review: Booker’s Bourbon “Kathleen’s Batch” 2018-01

The first 2018 batch from Jim Beam’s Booker’s Bourbon is here: Kathleen’s Batch. Here’s the gist:

The release of Booker’s “Kathleen’s Batch” marks a special and historic moment for the brand as the batch is named in honor of Kathleen DiBenedetto, who worked closely alongside Booker Noe as brand manager of the Small Batch Bourbon Collection, including Knob Creek Bourbon, Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, Baker’s Bourbon and Noe’s own namesake Booker’s Bourbon. Alongside Booker, Kathleen played a large role in paving the way for how super-premium bourbons are appreciated today. She has made a huge impact not only on beams premium bourbons, but to the industry as a whole, and in 2015, was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in recognition of these contributions. 26 years later, Kathleen still works for Beam Suntory, serving as the Senior Director, On-Premise and Luxury Marketing.

Booker’s “Kathleen’s Batch” was selected by Fred Noe, along with the help of Kathleen herself, as well as the Booker’s Bourbon Roundtable earlier this year. Like all batches of Booker’s Bourbon, “Kathleen’s Batch” is bottled uncut at its natural proof, of 127.4. The batch was aged for 6 years, 3 months and 14 days.

Aromatically pungent, with notes of gunpowder, heavy cloves, (very) dark chocolate, loads of barrel char, and some cedar box character. The palate is quite robust, but more exotic than you might expect. A coconut-tinged opener takes things into frontier territory, where big barrel notes, intense vanilla, butterscotch, a melange of cinnamon-heavy baking spice, and eastern-inspired flavors (think musty Persian rugs) of coriander and cardamom do a good service to the powerful body. The finish is shorter than expected considering the abv, but that’s not a slight considering how much is packed into the experience, and it does help to solidify the whiskey into a cohesive whole. All told, it’s one of the best Booker’s “Batch” releases I’ve seen to date.

127.4 proof.

A / $75 / bookersbourbon.com

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