Small Batch Bourbon Taste Test!

I found a good deal online for Booker’s and Baker’s bourbon last week and they arrived today. Both are 7 years old. The Baker’s is 107 proof, the Booker’s comes in at a whopping 127.9. I’ll be tasting both shortly and I’ll be back with my findings…

Both are Beam brands, by the way, and although the bottles are very similar in shape and size, and identical in volume, the Booker’s seems significantly heavier for some reason.

Made with heavy water!

I greatly prefer the Booker’s over the Baker’s, myself. Be sure to try them both straight and with a splash of water. The splash seems to really open up the nose.

I should mention, if it isn’t obvious, that I have never tried either before. I am a bourbon drinker, but these fellows are usually a bit out of my price range. My usual bourbons are Jim Beam Black, Elijah Craig 12 year, Knob Creek, Makers Mark. I have sampled many others, but this will be my virgin voyage for these two.

I tried the Baker’s first, with a wee bit of cold, filtered water to wake the bastard up!

Baker’s: Batch B-90-001. Great, deep aroma. Definitely a sharp alcohol taste up front, but fairly smooth after that. I was definitely enjoying it and wished I had poured a more substantial taste. That’s a good sign. Well-made for sure, but not something that made me go “Holy Crap” (like the Pappy 23 year old I’ve mentioned previously.) Still, all in all, a very nice drink and I look forward to the rest of the bottle.

I hope that I am not hijacking (if so ignore me) but I am typically a beer drinker, and only drink hard liquor once in a blue moon, usually rum or whisky mixed with Coke, ginger ale or 7-Up.

Since I pretty much only drink with these type mixers, I usually get whatever low-end brand is on sale, like Jim Beam, Early Times, Lord Calvert, Black Velvet etc. (I know those last two are Canadian Whisky, not bourbon) and am usually happy with those for my undemanding palate.

Yesterday was my birthday and I decided to hit the liquor store to see if anything jumped out, and a brand that I have never tried, Ancient Age, was on sale. It was normally about 12 bucks, discount priced at only $8.00. I was a bit hesitant, as that is pretty cheap, even for a tightwad like me.

Any thoughts—Have I got a bottle of undrinkable rotgut or is this similar in quality to the other brands that I am familiar with?

For what it’s worth, I have drank Makers Mark or Buffalo Trace on many occasions (mixed with Coke or ginger ale) and have never been able to taste a significant difference between those premium brands and stuff like Jim Beam or Evan Williams.

Incidentally, I had my first tasting of the whiskey I’m aging myself last week. It was a 2 month tasting. (Original thread here. Relevant discussion starts at post #8. ) Thanks Silenus! I bought 3 bottles of the rye spirit and the barrel. It holds about 2.5 bottles, and I expect to lose some to the alcohol gods. Hopefully,I’ll end up with two 750 ml bottles. Anyway, after 2 months in the barrel, the product had fantastic color. A gorgeous amber that started out crystal clear. The nose and initial flavor had a definite “tequila-esque” note that I did not care for (not a big tequila fan, at least taken neat.) The finish however, was nice and showed promise of a nice drink. I plan my next tasting at the 6-month mark in January (if I can holdout that long…) I keep the barrel on top of a spare garage fridge where the temps get pretty high during the day right now. I rotate the barrel almost every day, just a quarter or half turn one way or the other. Fun experiment…

I’ve not had Ancient Age so I can’t comment specifically. But I always buy less expensive brands for mixing. I like Evan Williams a lot for that. Unless you’re going to drink it neat I’d be surprised if it was undrinkable.

Ancient Age is a decent mixing bourbon. It’s what I use to make Bourboned Cherries, in fact. A bit simple for sipping, but mixed with cola it’s quite serviceable.

/licks the screen

Your test is fail, as I cannot seem to participate. :frowning:

Whatever you do, don’t buy Maker’s 46!

Good? I saw it in the store and was afraid it was just a marketing ploy…

NO! You can’t have any! Mine! All mine!

That just reeks of reverse psychology. I’ll stay away from it…

Southern Yankee, silenus, thank you both for you input…

I have some ginger ale chilling, and I will mix a drink in the next little while—For 8 bucks, I suppose I didn’t make a life-altering mistake. (I also have several friends that share my lowbrow tastes, so someone will end up drinking it, even if I don’t care for it) :slight_smile:

It’s for your own good. The stuff is liquid crack. The process they use pulls a lot of the flavors up front, and it has stiction that is unusual for Maker’s Mark. My wife spotted the stuff at Bevmo a couple of months ago, and we’ve been going through it like…well, I’m really not ready to admit my level of incipient alcoholism just yet. But buy stock in Maker’s and Bevmo. Their profit statements are going through the roof thanks to us.

I’ll definitely pick it up the next time I’m shopping.

Ok, on to the next tipple.

Booker’s: Batch C03-A-29. Richer nose than the Baker’s. Wow. You definitely feel that 10% more alcohol right away, but it burns up front, not going down. Really nice flavor to it. They’re aged the same time but the Booker’s seems more refined, even at the higher proof. I might put just a bit more water in my next glass of this, but it is excellent.