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Booker’s Bourbon Batches 2020 Ranked

Dec 18, 2020

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by Matty Sims

Booker’s Bourbon Batches 2020 were a mixed bag for me — which is unusual. Now I will readily admit with Booker’s Bourbon 2020-01 Granny’s Batch it just wasn’t my preferred flavor profile. It was all peanut butter brittle, a note I get with Jim Beam White that I don’t love.

Booker's Bourbon Batches 2020 Ranked
Batch #ProofAgeWax Notes
2020-04Batch CancelledBatch CancelledNoe Strangers Batch
2020-03127.36 years 4 months 2 daysPigskin Batch
2020-02126.56 Years, 3 Months, 10 DaysBoston Batch
2020-01126.46 Years, 4 Months, 21 DaysGranny’s Batch

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#1 – Booker’s Bourbon 2020-03 Pigskin Batch

Booker's Bourbon Batches 2020-03 Pigskin Batch - Booker's Bourbon Batches 2020 Ranked

Pigskin Batch 2020-03Details
TypeSmall Batch
Age6 years, 6 months, and 19 days
CooperageNew, Charred Oak Barrels
Off the Still125 Proof
In the Barrel125 Proof
Proof127.3 Proof
ABV63.65%
TypeSmall Batch
Price$80
ProsComplex Nose
ConsCould Use More Complexity on the Palate and Finish
RatingSilver 90 out of 100 Points
Inventory50/50

Burnished bronze. Thick, oily ribbons.

Nose – 93 out of 100 Points

Pigskin is a holiday feast. I get pumpkin pie, roasted pecan and chocolate pie, salted peanuts, cooked down cranberry and gingerbread cake with heavy cinnamon and clove. I don’t love peanuts as a primary flavor but the additional complexity makes this nose pleasant and enjoyable.

Taste – 89 out of 100 Points

Cinnamon, peanut caramel apple on the front of the palate with more salted peanuts and white pepper at the back of the palate.
It’s got a great mouthfeel but it’s less complex and flattens out more than the nose. There’s a pop of tart apple mid-palate the more you chew on it.

Finish – 89 out of 100

Most of the heat is at the top and back of the palate but it doesn’t creep much into the back of the throat. More baking spice, oak, and peanuts.

Verdict – Silver 90 out of 100 Points

The Bard Silver 300px

2020 was the year of salty, roasted peanuts for Booker’s. I can’t say it’s my favorite flavor profile but this batch was more complex and interesting than 2020-01. It reminded me of Center Cut 2015-03 minus the smokey notes.

#3 – Booker’s Bourbon 2020-01 Granny’s Batch

Booker's Bourbon 2020-01 Granny's Batch

This batch is all peanut butter brittle and salty peanut shells. If you love that flavor profile, you won’t be disappointed. And if I had done a full review it still would have been a high 80s silver ranked pour. This batch is made of two production dates and were aged in these warehouses:

  • 24% came from the 6th floor of 9-story warehouse G
  • 22% came from the 4th floor of 9-story warehouse H
  • 16% came from the 4th floor of 7-story warehouse L
  • 24% came from the 5th floor of 7-story warehouse L
  • 10% came from the 6th floor of 7-story warehouse L
  • 4% came from the 5th floor of 7-story warehouse P

Verdict – Silver 89.5 out of 100 Points

#3 – Booker’s Bourbon 2019-02 Boston Batch

Booker's Bourbon 2020-02 Boston Batch

Nose – 91 out of 100 Points

Cap popped there are immediate notes of brown sugar and cooked down caramel. Nose in the glass it’s like smelling a bag of trail mix with salty nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate notes.

Taste – 87 out of 100 Points

The front of the palate is charred oak, white pepper, mild sweet fruit, and bitter burnt cinnamon sticks.

Finish – 87 out of 100 Points

The finish is surprisingly short for a 126.5 proof bourbon (I’d say the low end of medium). Most of the lingering heat happens in the front of the palate with black pepper as the prominent note. Just as hits the front of the throat I pick up some tannic oak and mixed nuts through the short lasted finish.

Verdict – Silver 88.3 out of 100 Points

The color is dark and rich, and the Boston batch covers the curves of my Glencairn whiskey glass with long legs. The nose is particularly complex with more savory notes as the stars. The palate and finish are not.

#4 – Booker’s Bourbon 2020-04 Noe Strangers (Canceled)

Booker's Bourbon 2020-04 Noe Strangers

Why was Booker’s Bourbon 2020-04 Noe Strangers canceled? According to Master Distiller Fred Noe,

“When I took over as Master Distiller, Dad made me promise to never touch his Booker’s Bourbon, and I can honestly say that I haven’t. We’re still crafting it the same way Dad did—in small batches, uncut and unfiltered to create a robust, bourbon full of those vanilla notes he always looked for. I keep a close eye on our bourbon to ensure it is up to Dad’s standards and aim for four batches each year, but ultimately it comes down to when the liquid is ready.

With that said, we have decided to only release three batches this year. The third and final batch for 2020, “Pigskin Batch,” will be released ahead of the holidays, and we look forward to sharing it with you.”

—Fred Noe, Beam Family 7th Generation Master Distiller

I love this. I should be disappointed because well there’s no fourth batch of a bourbon I love. But on the other hand, it’s a testament to why I love Booker’s bourbon. Fred Noe and the Beam family aren’t just about making a quick buck. I can’t imagine the profit loss from not releasing an entire batch of this national, premium release. But I’d rather have no Booker’s than a Booker’s release under the label that isn’t up to snuff.

Best Booker’s Bourbon Batch of 2020

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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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