Booker’s Bourbon is a premium small-batch bourbon produced by the Jim Beam Distillery. It is named after Booker Noe, the late Master Distiller who is credited with reviving the small-batch bourbon category in the 1990s. Booker’s is known for its robust and unfiltered flavor profile, offering a high-proof and full-bodied experience.
Each batch of Booker’s Bourbon is carefully selected by the distillery’s Master Distiller, with barrels usually aged between 6 and 8 years. The bourbon is bottled at barrel strength, typically ranging from 121 to 130 proof, making it one of the higher-proof bourbons on the market. Due to its small-batch nature, the flavor profile may vary from batch to batch, but it generally features rich notes of vanilla, caramel, oak, and spices.
As of 2023, Booker’s is released between 3-4 times per year.
Booker’s is packaged in a distinctive wine bottle with a rustic label, sealed with wax, and is sold with a wooden box.
Booker’s Bourbon has a rich history that dates back to the late 1980s when Booker Noe, the Master Distiller at Jim Beam, decided to create a special small-batch bourbon. Booker Noe, who was the grandson of Jim Beam himself, wanted to bring back the traditional craftsmanship and robust flavors of pre-Prohibition bourbons.
Mike Donohoe, a sales manager for Jim Beam, joined the company in 1982 after a career in the NFL1Pro Football Reference. At some point, Booker Noe invited Donohoe to his office to talk football and drink bourbon, where they sampled something new and special that Booker had been working on.
Years later, Donohoe suggested giving that bourbon they tried together as holiday gifts for distributors and industry partners. According to Booker’s son Fred Noe, “with little time and almost no budget, Booker sourced wine bottles from a warehouse in Bardstown and wrote the labels himself to get the job done.”
In 1988, Booker Noe released the first batch of what would later become known as Booker’s Bourbon. This was a groundbreaking move at the time because small-batch bourbons were not widely available.
The bourbon was named after Booker Noe himself, who was a legendary figure in the bourbon industry. He was known for his larger-than-life personality, passion for bourbon, and commitment to preserving bourbon traditions. Booker’s Bourbon quickly gained a devoted following among whiskey enthusiasts who appreciated its bold and flavorful character.
Booker Noe continued to release new batches of Booker’s Bourbon, each with its own distinct flavor profile. He personally selected the barrels and oversaw the entire production process, ensuring that each batch met his high standards. Booker Noe passed away in 2004. Booker’s Batch 2021-01 is named “Donohoe’s Batch,” in honor of Mike Donohoe.
Booker’s batches date all the way back to 1988, when C-B-16-79 was released. The first few batches featured brown wax before transitioning to the current black wax. Several special editions have been released, including a rye whiskey and anniversary batches. In 2013, Booker’s began numbering the batches by release year and naming them in honor of something notable in Booker Noe’s life.
Booker’s Bourbon2021-01 Donohoe's Batch
Donohoe’s Batch is named for Mike Donohoe, a sales manager for Jim Beam who was instrumental in the creation of the Booker’s brand.
The first batch of 2021 is bottled at 127.3 proof (63.65 proof) and is aged 6 years and 7 months. The bourbon was distilled on two different dates, and were warehoused as follows:
- 16% came from the 2nd floor of 9-story warehouse H
- 8% came from the 6th floor of 9-story warehouse H
- 4% came from the 6th floor of 7-story warehouse L
- 16% came from the 4th floor of 7-story warehouse X
- 9% came from the 5th floor of 7-story warehouse X
- 47% came from the 5th floor of 7-story warehouse Z