Booker's Bourbon Batch 2020-03 "Pigskin Batch"
Bourbon — Kentucky, USA
Reviewed March 31, 2021 (edited April 6, 2021)
As Booker’s slowly but surely enters the realm of hard-to-find and overpriced collectors item, it’s time for my first Booker’s review. I went back and forth for what should be my 50th review and eventually landed on this. That it is coming as my half-century review may be appropo because while it’s not that special of a milestone, as say, my future century mark review, (READ just as Booker’s is NOT a special, once in a lifetime bourbon, by any stretch), it somehow feels like it needs to be acknowledged. You see, I have been collecting Booker’s since 2015. I’ve grabbed a pair of each batch since 2017. I always fancied the classic, yummy-smelling wooden box as a kinda cool packaging that other distillers should emulate. So this review may also be perceived as an ode to the last of the Mohicans because at the rate of price increase, there will come a time in the near future when I’ll no longer be seeking this product. Shame. How did we go from a $49.99 / bottle to now $100+ (and climbing) for a bourbon averaging 6.25 years old? I was able to find this batch at a local retailer for “reasonable” $69.99 and decided to clear the shelf because I thought this was probably the last time I’ll find it for that price. Whaat? Shame. Ok need to remind myself this is not a raving rant medium. Let’s get to the experience shall we? Neck pour Nose: Dry-roasted peanut skins, vanilla-laced ethanol fumes, cherry cotton candy, chocolate fudge, light/low calorie caramel toffee , paint varnish. If you allow yourself some patience, you will be rewarded with a good, balanced aroma that evolves to much greater heights over time. Palate - Follows the nose slightly with classic bourbon notes mingled with corn cereal and peanut trail mix. Water opens it to more fruity aromas but elevates the bitter oak tannins on the mid-palate. Finish is long and clingy. Continuation of the palate with an underlying backbone of wood spice and bitter tannins coming all the way through. You could say the wood influence balanced the finish from becoming too sweet. Warm Kentucky hug to close out. Overall: Not bad. The neck pour wasn’t mind-blowing but was not disappointing either. Follow-up pours after a few days yielded a much better experience. I think this is slightly above average but not sure how I feel about it relative to the “Booker’s hype”. So I’m holding my definitive judgment on the Booker’s line until I spend more time with this bottle + try other batches in my stack. Keeping hope alive that other batches bring something different and unique to the table. Side-by side to Old Forester single barrel cask strength (review coming) and the 15Yr George Dickel 15Yr single barrel cask strength , I give the GD a slight edge over the Booker’s with the OF coming in 3rd place but barely. In fact it’s closer to an interchangeable 2a & 2b. Ranking-wise, for my taste, I would go 1-GD 15Yr SiB Csk strength, 2a-Booker’s 2020-3, 2b-OF SiB Cask strength Cheers POD! PS: Going on another dry month starting tomorrow, as part of my self-imposed “1-dry-month-per-quarter” experiment this year. We shall see how long it lasts. Wish me luck!