Baker’s Bourbon made a big shift in 2019, becoming a single barrel offering available as a 7 year old or a (very rare) 13 year old. Today we are checking out a very limited release that falls in between, dubbed Baker’s Exclusive Selection, bottled at the age of 11 years, 8 months. Like both of the entries in the permanent collection, it’s bottled at 107 proof.
This release has much of the trademark fruit of the Baker’s line, though the normally effusive cherry is somewhat muted on the nose. It’s more of a lemony citrus, followed by toasted nuts and a modest barrel char element, that dominates the aromatics. The palate is surprisingly beefy considering how expressive and bright Baker’s tends to be, quite oaky and brooding with lots of wood and a heavy tannic character. The finish is tight and tough, peppery and studded with cardamom notes, and wholly missing the shiny sweetness that I always associate with the brand.
It’s so divergent that I had to sample Baker’s 7 Year Old again side by side just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. Aside from a similar level of spice, the new bottling was virtually unrecognizable as a sibling. Curious.