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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)

94 points

Booker’s 2019-03 “Country Ham” Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 62.35%

Clover honey, floral notes, bright citrus, marzipan, nutmeg, and cinnamon initiate a mesmerizing succession of flavors. On the palate, the impeccable balance of sweetness and spice introduces candied orange peel and cinnamon hearts candies. What is remarkable is how a bourbon this potent can play host to such delicate flavors, making it both massive and bright. The creamy sweetness rolls on and on, with waves of exotic sandalwood and spice appearing on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2020)

93 points

Booker’s 2019-02 “Shiny Barrel Batch" Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 62%

A pleasant, citrusy note of orange blossom on the nose, followed by licorice, dark cherry, cinnamon, and dusty oak. The palate is rich, mouth-filling and jammy, offering flavors of orange marmalade, sweet vanilla, maple syrup, French toast and strawberry jam. The finish is sweet corn, a reprise of orange, as well as vanilla, spice, and light tobacco. A robust bourbon (ice or water recommended) that’s subtle at the same time.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2019)

93 points

Booker’s 30th Anniversary, 62.9%

This is a whiskey that knows exactly what it wants to be, a rambunctious bourbon that throws the full weight of its barrel behind a flavor-packed punch. Lots of dry, charred-matchstick oak meets chewy fig and dried fruits, fudge brownie, and fresh meadow, with hints of banana and furniture polish in the aroma. Brawny and unapologetic on the palate; peach syrup and baked apples meet a torrent of spices as the moreish finish oozes on like chocolate lava cake. Collectible

Reviewed by: (Spring 2019)

93 points

Booker’s 2021-02 “Tagalong Batch” Kentucky Straight, 63.95%

The fifth edition of distiller Freddie Noe’s signature annual release. This is a weighty one, in classic Booker’s fashion—rich, full, and powerful, loaded with chocolate, cocoa powder, candied orange slices, dark chocolate, melted caramel, and cinnamon spice. Water quells the flavor riot, softening to notes of vanilla and vanilla malt, chocolate candy bar, and leather. The finish is spicy, with more chocolate and orange. There’s nothing shy about this tasty sipper.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2021)

93 points

Booker’s 2020-03 “Pigskin Batch” Kentucky Straight, 63.65%

booker's batch 2020-03 bourbon pigskin batch Roasted herbs, peanuts, and fragrant oak start things off on the nose, followed by notes of dried cherries, cornbread, vanilla frosting, and blueberry pie. A chewy palate offers honeyed almonds, cherry pie, and allspice. Water unlocks dark chocolate, more cherry pie, cinnamon spice, and tobacco leaf. A long spiced finish shows lively herbs, cinnamon sugar, and strawberry jam. Water is highly recommended—it takes this already superb whiskey to even greater heights.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

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)

93 points

Booker’s 2018-03 “Kentucky Chew,” 63.35%

Originally touted by Booker Noe, the “Kentucky Chew” is a way of tasting whiskey: swishing it around your mouth, then swallowing and smacking your lips—an urge that’s hard to resist with this intensely flavorful bourbon. Aromas of peanuts, cherry cola, candied ginger, blackberry jam, and curing tobacco are echoed on the palate, which has grape jelly, blueberry pie, peanuts in Coke, Mexican hot chocolate, and a hint of licorice. The finish is warming, lengthy, and sweet, with a lift of cherry and spice undercutting chocolate and oak.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2019)

93 points

Booker’s 2020-01 “Granny’s Batch” Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 63.2%

A sack of dried corn and a basket of roasted peanuts go hand in hand with iced tea, Coca-Cola, dark berries, caramel, and earthy clay barn floor. Unsurprisingly brawny and chewy in the mouth, it’s packed with dark chocolate-covered peanuts, cola, cooked cherries, chocolate tart, and tingling spice that carries well into the finish, which also keeps up the dark fruit and peanut flavors.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

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 2019-04 “Beaten Biscuits” Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 63.05%

Fragrant oak on the nose, along with powdered sugar, vanilla fudge, cherry pie, and accents of orange peel and leather. The palate offers notes of orange Creamsicle, pepper, dried oranges, and cigar wrapper. The finish is a long ride of spice and chocolate-covered almonds, melding with cooked fruit notes of orange and black cherry, as well as cracked pepper. A robust whiskey that carries its heft gracefully, and offers balanced complexity.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2020)

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)

92 points

Booker’s 2019-01 “Teresa’s Batch,” 62.95%

On the nose, there’s Golden Grahams, iced tea, and peanuts galore—shelled, unshelled, even boiled—Cherry Coke, white pepper, and ginger syrup. More sweet ginger on the palate, a lively high note that peps up the cherry cough syrup, roasted peanuts, cola, white pepper, and chewy oak. The lengthy finish is full of oak, cooked cherry, white pepper, and roasted nuts. Naturally, this does well with water but, frankly, it’s fine without.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2019)

92 points

Booker’s 2021-01 “Donohoe’s Batch” Kentucky Straight, 62.65%

booker's donohoe's batch Vanilla custard, pie crust, peanut brittle, rich oak, dried oranges, old leather, and raspberry jam on the nose. Loads of sweetness on the palate, with pecan pie, dark chocolate, brown sugar, PayDay bar, and cherry cordial. The finish is long and spicy, with pine and mint fragrance alongside nutty almond notes. Add water to unlock a lovely mix of fruit, nuts, chocolate, and spice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

Booker’s 2018-04 “Kitchen Table,” 64%

A classic bourbon nose, as butterscotch hard candies meet oak, creamed honey, beeswax candle, licorice, and wood char. At full proof this really blows the doors off, and a splash of water cracks open the peanut brittle flavors, buttery biscuit, root beer spices, and oak. The finish rides on for minutes, a mouthful of Peanut Chews, dark berries, and smoky plum, with scorched campfire marshmallow.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2019)

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)

90 points

Booker’s 2020-02 “Boston Batch” Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 63.25%

Sweet toasted grain, almonds, frozen banana on a Popsicle stick, vanilla, and green tea on the nose. Without water, the palate is overwhelmed by its proof; add a generous amount and you’ll find vanilla, almonds, toasted grain, sweet oak, green banana, and the freshness of mint leaves. The finish is sweet and velvety, with more almonds, toasted grain, and oak. Atypical profile for Booker’s, but plenty to like.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2020)

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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