Updated: Booker’s 30th Anniversary Bourbon

6/21/18 Update from Fred Noe (Beam):

Bold is mine

Hope you’re doing well. You’ve heard the news earlier this year that we are releasing a very special bourbon in honor of my dad, Booker Noe, and the 30th anniversary of Booker’s Bourbon later this year. I wanted to share an update with you about this commemorative release. Staying true to Dad’s standards for his namesake whiskey, I’ve decided to change the liquid that we release as Booker’s 30th Anniversary Bourbon. Instead of a standalone 16-year-old bourbon — as I had originally planned and communicated — this limited time offering will now feature a mingling of uncut, unfiltered 9-year-old bourbon and uncut, unfiltered 16-year-old bourbon. Presented on its own, I found the oak notes from the 16-year-old whiskey overpowered the flavors of vanilla that are so characteristic of every Booker’s release. My son Freddie agreed, too. So, I made the call a couple weeks ago to scrap our original plans and change up the liquid. Because, at the end of the day, honoring Dad and keeping his Booker’s just the way he would have liked it is something that I won’t compromise on. We’re aiming for Booker’s 30th Anniversary Bourbon to consist of about 70% 9-year-old bourbon and 30% 16-year-old bourbon to bring out the full vanilla flavor that Dad loved, married with just the right amount of robust oak notes from extra aging. I’ll be able to share more about the precise percentages once the final batch is dumped in a couple of months. Using some of the rare, older Booker’s barrels we have in supply, Booker’s 30th Anniversary will still be very limited in availability, a fraction of the size of a standard Booker’s batch.  We’ll also be housing the bottles in custom wooden boxes made from the wood floors of the rackhouses Dad walked through at our Kentucky plants. Pricing and exact release timing are still being finalized, but we’re doing our best to get it out ahead of the holidays, so folks can enjoy it or give it as a gift. Cheers, Fred Noe Beam Family’s Seventh Generation Master Distiller

Bourbonr Notes:

I’m sure there will be some upset by this news. I’d still really like to find out what 16-year-old Booker’s would taste like. But, I’m OK with Beam making this call. Especially if it was done by the tasting panel and not the accountants. Most bourbons are over-oaked for my taste around the 12-year mark. I’m sure it was tough to find enough good barrels to have a substantial release. It does seem a little odd that it will be 70% 9-year bourbon. Does that mean that the release increased by that much? Did some 16-year-old barrels get tossed? Who knows. I’d still like to see a price tag before I start to evaluate this release. This is still the most anticipated release of 2018 for me.

Posted 4/20/18:

Jim Beam Distillery plans to release a 30th Anniversary Booker’s small batch bourbon. While my interest in Limited Editions has waned recently this has me excited. Booker’s 25th is one of my all-time favorite bourbon’s. Booker’s Rye was really expensive but it lived up to the price in my opinion. I’d love to see this release under the $200 price mark. Time will tell. read more

Review: Smooth Ambler Big Level Bourbon

I’m a big Smooth Ambler fan. Not that it should matter. But, more context is needed around bourbon and whiskey reviews today. It’s possible that these preferences make their way into reviews but I do my best to block them out. I should also say that this wasn’t a distillery or PR sample. I purchased this bottle on my own. I like Smooth Ambler because they make and bottle great bourbon. So do many other distilleries and brands. I’m a fan because of how they handle their business and interact with customers. They’ve always been straightforward with their customers. Even when it’s bad news. I see Smooth Ambler guys hop into the bourbon Facebook groups to answer questions. Even when it’s criticism or negative feedback. They appear to genuinely care about the people buying their products. read more

Review: Old Fitzgerald Bottled-In-Bond

Heaven Hill recently released their Old Fitgerald Bottled-In-Bond decanter. This is an 11-year-old, 100 proof bourbon. It will retail for $110. If you’re not familiar with Bottled-In-Bond requirements, here’s a crash course. The bourbon has to be, 4-years-old or greater, from the same distillery, in the same distilling season and at 100 proof. Here is more information from the Heaven Hill press release: read more

Bourbonr Beginner’s Guide

Update: Check out the digital download for a hi-res guide for bourbon lovers

If you follow Bourbonr on social media (primarily Twitter or Instagram) you’ll notice quite a few non-bourbon spirits. There are a couple reasons for this. One, it’s nice to change things up. Two, and more importantly, it’s fun to be a newbie again. The further we get into a hobby the harder it is to remember what it was like to be new. I see this a lot in the Facebook groups. New guy asks a question. People mock the question or make trolling comments. New guy never asks a question again. This guide is the questions I wanted to be answered when I got into bourbon. And, more recently the questions I’ve asked about Rum and Armagnac. read more

Bourbon and Borrowed History

Bourbon is rich with history. Whether legendary names like Jim Beam, Elijah Craig and E.H. Taylor, the history of bourbon runs deep. With the history, brand equity and goodwill are built. In the whiskey business history, legacy, tradition, etc. sells really well. Because of that, marketers use history and stories to sell booze. read more

Bourbon and Beyond This Fall

For the second year in a row, Bourbon & Beyond will take place in Lousiville. This year you may recognize some familiar (aside from the famous musicians, chefs, master distillers, etc.). Three members of the Bourbon Community Roundtable will participate in the event. I’m moderating a workshop called “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Master Distiller“. Brian Haara from Sipp’n Corn and Ryan and Kenny from Bourbon Pursuit will be hosting events as well. read more

Bourbonr Pro Membership

Welcome to open enrollment for the Bourbonr Pro membership. Almost three years ago, I launched Bourbonr Pro as a way to provide additional benefits and support the Bourbonr site. The main focus of the Bourbonr Pro memberships is the Bourbonr barrel picks. Don’t worry. If you choose not to become a “pro” member nothing changes for you. All of the advantages of the Bourbonr Pro membership are in addition to what is already provided on Bourbonr. read more

I Hate Single Barrels

Let’s start with a little history. One-off barrels were a thing among distillers for a long time. They bottled these “single” barrels for parties and friends. And, on occasion, in exchange for a favor from a governmental official. It wasn’t until 1984 when Elmer T. Lee came up with the idea for a premium single barrel bourbon. Ancient Age Distillery (now Buffalo Trace) decided to name the brand Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon. It was named after former distillery president Col. Albert B Blanton. Blanton’s single barrel bourbon was one of the first premium bourbon releases. After a few years of sales Blanton’s sales began to pick up. Other distilleries also offering “premium” bourbons. The downward sales trend in the bourbon industry began to slow. read more

NEAT: The Story of Bourbon

If you follow bourbon media outlets you’ve probably seen this already. But, for me, it’s exciting to see this film get released. If you’ve been reading Bouronr long enough you may remember I posted a trailer for the film back in 2015. I can’t imagine the work that goes into a project like this. I’ve gotten a chance to watch the documentary and it’s really good. Whether you’re new to bourbon or have been a Bourbonr for years, NEAT will get you excited about bourbon! read more

Join Me At Orlando Whiskey Festival

This will be my third year I’ve attended the Orlando Whiskey Festival. Every year, I’ve tasted some amazing whiskey. If you think you can make it definitely let me know. Would love to meet some fellow Bourbonr’s there! Tickets are available here.

Features include: fine single malt, blended Scotch and American whiskeys including Boubon and rye, favored whiskeys, beer and wine. The grand tasting allows guests to sample close to 100 whiskey brands and interact with industry professionals. Gourmet menu selections will be on site from some of Orlando’s most popular restaurant groups. An outside lounge area will incude live entertainment and cigar vendors. read more