Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Jim Beam. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Booker’s Bourbon 2022-1 “Ronnie’s Batch” is an uncut and unfiltered barrel proof bourbon and the first batch release of the 2022 collection. Booker’s Bourbon is a Jim Beam brand and, harkening back to the late 1980’s, was one of the first modern barrel proof bottles (brainchild of Master Distiller, Booker Noe). The Jim Beam brand itself originated in 1795 when Jacob Beam first sold Old Jake Beam Sour Mash straight from the barrel.
This release from Booker’s honors Ronnie Land, a 40-year employee of Jim Beam. Ronnie worked his way up to Warehouse Manager. Understood by anyone who works in the craft of distilling and aging bourbon, that position is critically important. Frederick Booker Noe III, Jim Beam’s great-grandson and the seventh generation Master Distiller at Jim Beam, stated “Ronnie was responsible for keeping inventory of aging barrels, a key part of the bourbon-making process, and he knew the quantities and locations by heart. He also knew exactly where Booker preferred to store his namesake barrels and was trusted to prepare the samples for batch evaluation.”
Booker’s elaborates of this release that the barrels selected to make up Ronnie’s Batch were from, “The center of the rackhouse where the temperature and humidity stars align to create the deepest and most intense flavors.”
In 1964, President Johnson declared bourbon to be “America’s Native Spirit,” and as noted below, this release certainly does that statement justice.
Tasting Notes: Booker’s “Ronnie’s Batch” Batch 2022-1
Vital Stats: Aged 6 years, 11 months and 22 days. 124.3 proof, 62.15% ABV. Mash bill: Undisclosed in marketing material but reported to be 77% corn, 13% rye and 10% malted barley. 750ML. SRP $89.99 but currently available closer to $190.
Appearance: As expected from an “uncut and unfiltered” barrel proof bourbon, the color is on the darker side, like a hazelnut blended with tawny, aged gold.
Nose: For a high proof bourbon, this is notably mellow in the sense that the ethanol doesn’t flick you in the nose. I enjoyed warm caramel barely cooled from the stovetop, leather, and a most subtle waft of something close to allspice.
Palate: Don’t be put off by the high proof, at least not with this bourbon. The warmth from the ethanol is more on the “Oh, yes please…” end of the spectrum as opposed to the “My taste buds have left the building.” The latter we’ve all experienced from, shall we say, less ideal barrel proof products. Here I experienced caramel, a delicate background hint of rye, an overall vanilla sweetness and lingering warmth that called me back for more.