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Booker’s 2015-01: Big Man, Small Batch Review

Last updated Oct 18, 2020 | Published on Sep 15, 2019


by Matty Sims

Reading Progress:

ProductionSmall batch
Age7 years, 2 months,16 days
CooperageNew, Charred Oak Barrels
Distillery James B. Beam Distilling
ProsComplex, Flavor Explosion
InventoryBuy Without Hesitation

My collection of Booker’s now starts with this crown jewel — Booker’s 2015-01 Big Man, Small Batch. What I love about these old Booker’s is the way the wax is brittle. You can’t replicate that. The wax on newer batches peals away without resistance. Older batches the wax puts up a fight breaking off into shards.

According to Distiller:

This is the first in a series of limited edition small batch bourbons from Booker’s, honoring founding distiller Booker Noe, who is featured in his rocking chair on the label with his dog Dot at his feet. Also called “Big Man, Small Batch,” this release is produced by Fred Noe, 7th generation Master Distiller at Beam. It’s batched from 7 different Beam rack houses, and like all of the Booker’s editions, it is uncut. Even the distiller’s literature suggests serving it with ice or cut with water.

This Booker’s didn’t disappoint on all fronts.

Start shopping for bourbon swag for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Booker’s 2015-01: Big Man, Small Batch Bourbon Tasting

Booker’s 2015-01

This is the inaugural batch of Booker’s bourbon with the current numbering sequence (e.g., the year followed by the batch 2015-01).

It’s a bold statement of what bourbon whiskey can be.


This whiskey has loooonnnnggggg legs. It’s a Jackson Polluck painting of bourbon droplets in my glencairn


Deep, rich honey made from berries


I didn’t even put my nose in the glass, and I could smell rich, dark, burnt caramel with vanilla bobba balls. It was a sensory smack in the face.

Nose in the glass, I get cherries. Toasted marshmallow. Fresh summer corn. Caramel apple. It’s like all the wonderful smells of a summer fair.

It immediately made me think of the first fair my wife (then girlfriend) attended in Independence, KS. We shared a funnel cake and caramel apple. We held hands. We kissed. We laughed.

I can’t stop smelling this bourbon whiskey. I also get baking spice undertones. Liquid complexity.


It’s clean and crisp on first sip then explodes with flavor. My first thought was of my wife’s apple pie which is baked with streusel and caramel sauce. My favorite part are the crispy edges where the caramel makes contact with the ceramic baking container.

The heat from 128.7 proof doesn’t overwhelm. I get a slight tingle on the top of tongue like the slow heat of a szechuan peppercorn. Warm baking spice covers the entire palate.


The finish is a Kentucky Hug at its finest. Warms you from the inside out with a full assault of baking spices and burnt caramel.

Verdict: The Bourbon Bard Gold (98)

Big Man, Small Batch is the best a bourbon can get within the traditional flavor profile. It’s complex, balanced, and just damn delicious.

I wish I had a full barrel of this batch. This Booker’s batch has moved into my top 5 bourbons (I’ll make an official list some day).

That’s rarified air.

Start shopping for bourbon swag for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is the Editor-in-Chief at a digital media company. LeAnn (his wife) and his daughters Claire, Maddy, and Adele along with a brand new pup Booker live in Taylors, SC, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys cracking a well-aged bottle of bourbon with friends and sharing stories, or cracking one of his favorite daily sippers on the back porch while the pup and his kids play in the backyard. He is a storyteller at heart, and Bourbon has deep roots in storytelling.

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