Freddie Noe: Whiskey in His Blood
September 29, 2020 –––––– Zak Kostro
Each whiskey Freddie Noe creates is a reflection of where he is in his journey as an eighth-generation distiller at Jim Beam. Freddie is the mind behind Little Book, developing a unique blend each year using some of Beam's best whiskeys. “A lot of it is [based on] where I am in my career, or things I'm working on,” he said in an Instagram Live interview on Sept. 25, part of Whisky Advocate's #TasteWithSpace series. But the backstory behind each release also is particularly important in unpacking how Freddie's own heritage as the son of an iconic American whiskey family informs his process when it comes to putting together the blend.“Chapter 1 ‘The Easy' was really about the ingredients of bourbon, and an ode to Granddaddy,” Freddie said, referring to his grandfather, Booker Noe, a legendary distiller and the grandson of Jim Beam himself. “Chapter 2 ‘Noe Simple Task' really talked about the liquid itself, from [Alberta Distillers], and our whiskey as well.” Chapter 3 “The Road Home” revisited Booker Noe's legacy. With Chapter 4 “Lessons Honored,” Freddie wanted to pay homage to another person who's had major influence on his work as a distiller.“I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to pay tribute to my dad [Fred Noe],” he explained. “The more I've been in the industry, a lot of folks tell me how much I remind them of my grandfather. But he passed when I was 15, so a lot of my connection with him came directly from Dad, having conversations about Granddaddy and his perspective on things. So as much as this has been about the path Granddaddy laid for us with the Small Batch [Collection, comprising Booker's, Baker's, Knob Creek, and Basil Hayden's], and rekindling the fire of the bourbon industry, Dad played a big role in helping educate consumers and really getting the Small Batch out there for people to taste. ‘Lessons Honored' comes from lessons my dad taught me that I'm trying to honor—both in the industry, and with this whiskey.” Even the bottle tag is blue for the Noes' favorite team, the Kentucky Wildcats.