I’m not as big of a bourbon geek as I am a cigar geek (is that even a thing?) but I knew about Booker’s long before I ever drank it. My first exposure to Booker’s was in a Mint Julep and I loved it in that setting. The sweetness of the mint and the boldness of the bourbon was a wonderful combination.
But then, for whatever reason, I forgot about it for a couple of years. Fortunately, I saw some Booker’s at a local liquor store (one of those big chains and not some podunk place around the corner with hooch) and had to give this bourbon a try without the addition of mint.
Before I start, here’s a little introduction from Sour Mash Manifesto:
Booker Noe was Jim Beam’s grandson. He was also the master distiller at his grandfather’s namesake operation for 40+ years until his death in 2004. In 1987, Booker introduced what is now one of Jim Beam’s flagship products, Booker’s Bourbon. Named after the man himself, this massive bourbon is aged on the 5th and 6th floors of a nine-story aging warehouse, which is the “heart” of the facility. It’s an uncut, unfiltered, barrel proof bourbon. This means the barrels are hand selected, batched, and then bottled with no additional water or chill filtration, allowing all of the flavor carriers in the bourbon to remain. Booker Noe wanted this bourbon to be pretty darn pure and unadulterated. Mission accomplished.
This particular bottle I’m drinking out of is 128.6 proof (64.3% ABV). The smell (which is my inarticulate way of saying “nose”) of this bourbon is fruity with spice. It smells like there is a ton of stuff going on in that golden amber liquid.
Going in the Booker’s has some fleeting fruity sweetness but that is soon subsumed by pepper and woody notes. There is a lot more going on with this bourbon than I can adequately describe but I can tell you what my personal impression of this cigar is: It’s awesome. And it’s strong – duh.
Strength is, I think, what draws some people to this bourbon and scares others away. But don’t let that blind you to what may be one of the best bourbons you will ever drink. To me, the strength isn’t overpowering and the flavors are extremely bold and they last forever.
Now the question about what cigar would work well with this bourbon. I’d go with a very good, equally strong cigar with amazing flavors. Immediately, the Fausto Avion 11 comes to mind. It’s very strong but what’s really great about this cigar is that the flavors are extremely robust and tend towards the spicy. An amazing cigar for an amazing bourbon makes an ideal pairing.
That is pretty much it. I apologize for not being able to go deeper into the intricacies of this wonderful bourbon but I can tell you one thing: You have to try this bourbon.