Booker’s 2017-01 “Tommy’s Batch”
Towards the end of last year we all witnessed a rumor come to light. Beam Suntory announced a price hike and a reduction in the number of batches of our beloved Booker’s Small Batch being released each year. Thankfully, with 2017’s first Booker’s release “Tommy’s Batch”, we’ve got confirmation that the prices only increased to $70-75. Some people are still annoyed with the whole situation and many are boycotting the obvious marketing tactic to get current bottles to fly off the shelf, but I’m on the other side of the fence. The price increase isn’t too bad and Booker’s is my favorite bourbon so it’s hard for me to give a f***. The first 2017 release of Booker’s Small Batch, also happens to be the latest Roundtable release! That means i’ll be judging this extra hard! Check out this batch’s Label Inspiration:
“I’m proud to share the first of four batches in the Booker’s® Bourbon 2017 Batch Collection, Batch 2017-01, also called Booker’s “Tommy’s Batch.” I’m especially pleased to release this special batch as our first, as it is named in tribute to Tommy Crume, who started his career at the distillery as a young man and worked closely alongside Dad for decades. They spent so much time together that we used to joke that he was like a second son to Dad!
Over all those years, Tommy learned just how Dad liked things to be done around the distillery, especially when it came to his namesake bourbon and eventually worked his way up to Distillery Manager at the Clermont, Ky. plant, helping to make sure that everything continued to run just the way Dad would have wanted.
After almost 30 years with us, Tommy retired in 2016 and I know Dad would be honored to name the first batch of 2017 after his dear friend. I hope you’ll join me in raising a glass of Booker’s “Tommy’s Batch” in celebration of Dad’s legacy and Tommy’s, too.”
— Fred Noe, Beam Family’s 7th Generation Master Distiller
This batch was selected by Fred Noe, with the help of Tommy himself, the Booker’s Roundtable and a select group of whiskey experts and writers. The batch consisted of two production dates aged in three different warehouses. The breakdown of the barrel locations is as follows:
41% came from the 6th floor of the 9 story warehouse E
13% came from the 6th floor of the 9 story warehouse H
46% came from the 7th floor of the 9 story warehouse D
Tasting Notes: Booker’s 2017-02 “Blue Knights Batch”
Contents: 64.25% alc/vol (128.5 proof) Barrel Strength Small batch bourbon. Youngest whiskey in the batch is 6 years, 4 months, and 6 days old.
MSRP: $70 for a 750ml bottle
Appearance: Golden brown sugar caramel
Nose: Oak spice, barrel char, espresso, vanilla and almond
Palate: At first it’s slightly on the hotter side with oak spice tannins. After 10 minutes of opening up, the vanilla bean almond butter bomb drops with chocolate and more oak spice on the backend.
Finish: Lingering finish. All vanilla.
Considering Beam-Suntory’s announcement of their price hike, not much has warranted a higher price. I’d still pay the $70-80 price tag for these, but if they start creeping on the $100 range I might have to pump the brakes unless they introduce older juice into the blends. Regardless, 2017-01 “Tommy’s Batch” is a home run in my book. The classic Booker’s vanilla bean and almond butter smothers the class for a truly relaxing pour. The amount of oak spice is just perfect leaving a long lingering coat on the inside of your mouth. I know these words are coming from a huge Booker’s fan, but if you like vanilla forward bourbons as well as barrel strength pours, then you just can’t go wrong with this bottle. To me, this is what bourbon is SUPPOSED to taste like. I write this review after the bottle being closed to finished so the change in the flavor shifts from the vanilla and almond bomb to a more well rounded oak spice towards the end of the bottle with oxidation laying its part.
Good or bad? Outstanding! Worth to be among the other roundtable picks.
Worth buying again? Yes, but this a readily available bottle in most states, so just get multiples for the bunker.
Editor’s Note: This whiskey was purchased by Superfly Bourbon Club. In no way, does acquiring the bottle in any form manipulate the direction of this review.