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96 points

Booker’s 2014-01 “25th Anniversary Batch,” 65.4%

The complete package: uncut, unfiltered, full-flavored, richly textured (almost chewy), and very complex. Notes of toffee-coated nuts, vanilla fudge, polished leather, cedar-tinged tobacco, barrel char, cocoa powder, and a hint of fig, wrapped up with a firm oak grip on the finish. Worth every penny of the premium price being charged for this commemorative release. Editor's Choice.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2014)

93 points

Booker’s 2018-02 “Backyard BBQ,” 64.4%

Typical of Booker’s this bourbon shows lots of concentration and muscle, oozing with caramel and maple syrup, with hints of lavender and bouquet garni. Flavors explode on the palate, with more herbal complexity, root beer barrel candy, green almond, black cherry, and a big rush of dark, bitter-sweet burnt sugar and caramel. Lovely baking spices and lots of toasty oak linger on the long finish. The youngest barrel in the blend is just over 6 years, 2 months of age. Editors’ Choice

Reviewed by: (Fall 2018)

92 points

Booker’s 2018-01 "Kathleen’s Batch," 63.7%

Bright and pronounced caramel in many forms, from rich caramel chews to caramel pudding. Then a spice backbone jumps out, followed by butterscotch, brown sugar, vanilla wafers, jalapeño cornbread, mustard seeds, and peach cobbler. A drop of water makes it even more complex with savory spices—sage, dried parsley, and a hint of rosemary, meeting sweet: more vanilla and butterscotch. With or without water, it finishes long and strong with a hint of pepper.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2018)

92 points

Booker’s Rye, 68.1%

Is this perfect? From the look and nose, yes. Rich caramel and campfire smoke early on; it’s robust, but balanced. Crème brûlée with a sultry smokiness, raw honey with a dusting of nutmeg and a Scotch ale malt profile that’s creamy and mouth-coating. Alas, a heavy bite hides much, needing water to open up. A drop adds complexity, spice, vanilla, chocolate, and licorice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2016)

92 points

Booker’s 2017-01 “Tommy’s Batch,” 64.25%

At 6 years, 4 months, and 6 days, this is beautiful. Honey, cinnamon, and marzipan are the opening trifecta, preparing you for roasted-nut wonders: almond, walnut, and pecan. Then it’s complex crème brûlée, balsamic vinaigrette, salted caramel, molasses, maple syrup, and hints of toasted pine nuts, leather, and anise. With an eyedropper of water, it becomes a caramel bomb. In both cases, long finishes await, with hints of caramel.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2017)

92 points

Booker’s 2017-04 “Sip Awhile,” 64.05%

Rosewater, almond extract, dark cherries, roasted almonds, and caramelized sugar start this truly splendid aromatic whiskey. Marzipan, pecan pie, chocolate Moon Pie, Bavarian cream, butterscotch, and fried dough with powdered sugar follow. This remarkable whiskey finishes long and strong with more fried dough.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

Booker’s 2016-01 “Bluegrass Batch,” 63.95%

If Picasso sketched bourbon, it would look like Booker’s, with deep golden and auburn hues. But higher-proof color can deceive. Not here. Think bourbon warehouse: oak, caramel, tobacco leaf, cinnamon, vanilla; floral with hints of honey and blueberry. And then it really comes alive. Oh, baby! Candy corn, crème brûlée, maple syrup, nutmeg, and traces of chipotle and cayenne. The proof strength doesn’t show. I recommend this batch neat for full, unrelenting flavor.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2016)

89 points

Booker’s (Batch No. C06-B-15), 64.45%

Aged 7 years, 1 month, and 7 days. Big and chewy, with nutty toffee, molasses, nougat, tobacco, pencil shavings, subtle fruit, and dried spice (cinnamon, vanilla). Leather, barrel char, and a hint of licorice root on the finish. Big, bold, and very enjoyable.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2013)

88 points

Booker’s 2015-01 “Big Man, Small Batch,” 64.35%

The first in a series of limited edition releases for 2015. Not as rich, thick, sweet, or deep as last year’s classic 25th Anniversary bottling. This one’s lighter, drier, and with more spice. Cinnamon, mint, nutmeg, licorice root, citrus, and subtle botanical notes, all wrapped up in caramel and vanilla. Dry, pleasant finish. If the 25th Anniversary bottling was an ideal digestif, this one is more suitable as an aperitif.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2015)

87 points

Booker’s 2015-04 “Oven Buster Batch,” 63.5%

Aged over 6 years, this is a rather feminine version of Booker’s. It’s sweet, relatively gentle compared to previous releases, and quite fragrant (bordering on perfumed—especially on the nose). Creamy vanilla coats the palate, with suggestions of coconut macaroon and marzipan. Dried spice (cinnamon, mint) and drying oak on the finish keep the sweetness in check.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2015)

86 points

Booker’s 2017-02 “Blue Knights Batch,” 63.7%

Think corn: roasted, canned, creamed, mashed, pan-fried, in salsa, and in bread. The corn pops early and often. This complements hazelnut, caramel pudding, and baking spices. A drop of water really opens this up, softening the corn-heavy notes and bringing forth fruits and spices. Even the finish is better with water. Perhaps this whiskey was meant to have a lower proof.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2017)

82 points

Booker’s 2016-03 “Toogie’s Invitation,” 64.5%

At 6 years, 4 months, and 4 days old, there’s a bit of an old-school bourbon nose, with caramel and butterscotch leading. Chocolate, cinnamon, and nutmeg follow. What starts out promising turns to grain, opening up to cornbread, freshly baked rye bread, and vanilla cupcake batter. Once the chewy-to-dry mouthfeel is established, there’s walnut bread, rice pudding, and buttered toast over heat. With water, the grain disappears and malty caramel dominates. This needs water or ice to maximize potential.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2016)

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