Bookers: Fishing Strong Whiskey
Enough politics. Focus on what’s important, people!
This month’s selection for our Bourbon club is Booker’s, a high-end, cask-strength product from Jim Beam. At 130 proof, this is among the stronger of spirits that you can get. I paid just under sixty dollars for the bottle at BevMo — it was not on sale, and the guy had to go get it from the back for me.
I found the color to be that of honey and the overall look translucent rather than transparent. The bottle’s presentation in the pine box is attractive as well. The bottle is protected at the mouth by a pour of black wax, neater than the drippings from the red wax used by Maker’s Mark as its trademark, and easier to get through, which is a good thing. The tasting guide that came with the Booker’s touted its inclusion in a family of small batch bourbons and suggested that this one be enjoyed neat, so that’s how I initially tried it.
The alcohol was so strong when I had it neat that it burned my tongue a bit. I couldn’t really taste anything other than the alcohol when the spirit was neat and at room temperature. A couple of rocks dropped in helped considerably, and I learned later that the distiller advises this as well.
Thinning out the spirit with the water opened up the flavors so they became discernible. The opening flavor was the traditional caramel associated with the corn mash forming the foundation of all bourbon whiskies. The body is almost herbal, and the finish is smoky, like the kind of Scotch that I favor. All told, for this experience I think I’d rather have a Scotch, but I did find that the Booker’s was quite enjoyable with rocks. Personally, I do not think that whiskey of this quality should be mixed with anything other than ice, and I’m aware that there are those who would criticize me for even using that. But it would be just plain sinful to mix this stuff with ginger ale or — may the whiskey Gods forbid it — cola or fruit juice.
Bear in mind that this is strong stuff. It’s unfiltered, straight from the barrel. A one-ounce taste, less than a finger in my tasting glass, left me a bit dizzy. (Granted that I tasted on an empty stomach, which enhances the effect.) So be sure to enjoy this Bourbon responsibly, after all your day’s driving is done and with no former romantic partners’ telephone numbers handy.
Or maybe your experience was different than mine. That’s what the comments section is for.