Beam Suntory | James B. Beam Distilling Co | Limited Releases | Little Book | Review

Every Little Book Whiskey Reviewed [2021]

Last updated Apr 1, 2021

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by Matty Sims

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

Little Book Whiskey is an annual, limited release from Jim Beam and is blended by Freddie Noe, grandson of Booker Noe and son of Freddie Noe, current Master Distiller at Beam. This blended whiskey is uncut and unfiltered.

Many blended whiskeys will use neutral spirits but Little Book doesn’t. They’ve also forgone adding any coloring and non-natural flavor. Little Book is a riff off the legendary Booker Noe’s Booker Small Batch Bourbon as Freddie is his grandson hence Little Book.

There have been four releases so far and below you’ll find reviews for each below:

  • Little Book Whiskey Chapter 1 “The Easy”
  • Little Book Whiskey Chapter 2 “Noe Simple Task”
  • Little Book Whiskey Chapter 3 “The Road Home”
  • Little Book Whiskey Chapter 4 “Lessons Honored”
  • Little Book Whiskey Chapter 5 “Gold Standard”

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Which Little Book Whiskey is best?

The Best Little Book Whiskeys
95.3 Reviewer
0 0 votes
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93.3 Reviewer
0 0 votes
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89.7 Reviewer
0 0 votes
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Finish
87.3 Reviewer
0 0 votes
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Finish

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 5 “Gold Standard” Review

Full Review Coming Upon Release

Related: Jim Beam Distillery (Complete Guide)

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 4 “Lessons Honored” Review

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 4 Lessons Honored

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 4 Lessons HonoredDetails
DistilledKentucky
ProductionBlended Whiskey and Bourbon
Age4-year-old Kentucky Straight Brown Rice Bourbon
8-year-old Kentucky Straight High-rye Whiskey
7-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon
CooperageNew, Charred Oak Barrels
Proof122.8°
ABV61.4%
Price124.99
Distillery James B. Beam Distilling
ProsComplex and Creamy Nose
ConsNot as Balanced
Rating90
InventorySolid Whiskey to Enjoy through the Fall

The whiskey slowly meanders down the glass like it’s driving down a country road in West Virginia

Nose – 93 Points

It smells like creamy, sweet rice pudding with a hint of savory grain and rye.

Taste – 90 Points

The first sip is more of that creamy, sweet rice pudding (light brown sugar mixed in). Rye spice with red pepper drives down the side of the palate and tingles the tip of the tongue. That spice is unexpected from the nose.

The cream comes back into play as the spice fades as the whiskey has covered the entire palate. To finish there’s a pop of chocolate banana bread sweetness and the back of the palate.

The spice comes to play when you chew the whiskey. The cream and sweetness come out more with less chew.

Finish – 86 Finish

It’s a medium to long finish. It’s rye spice and sweet cream through the end but they don’t balance each other out. It’s two chords being played on their own.

Verdict – Silver 90 out of 100 Points

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I enjoy this pour because it’s so out of the box. No caramel. No vanilla. It’s simultaneously familiar with the sweetness and rye spice and unfamiliar in other ways. It’s that kind of thoughtfulness that intrigues me.

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 3 “The Road Home” Review

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 3 The Road

Little Book Chapter 3 The Road HomeDetails
DistilledKentucky
ProductionBlended Kentucky Straight Bourbon
AgeKnob Creek – 9 years old, 117.4 proof
Baker’s – 12 years old, 126.6 proof
Basil Hayden’s – 9 years, 123 proof
Booker’s – 11 years, 129.2 proof
CooperageNew, Charred Oak Barrels
Proof122.6°
ABV61.3%
Price$125
Distillery James B. Beam Distilling
ProsComplex, Flavor Explosion
ConsLess Caramel and Vanilla
Rating93
InventoryBuy Without Hesitation

This is the first all bourbon release in the Little Book Whiskey line and blends four of Jim Beam’s small batch bourbons — Booker’s, Baker’s, Knob Creek, and Basil Hayden. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Knob Creek – 9 years old, 117.4 proof
  • Baker’s – 12 years old, 126.6 proof
  • Basil Hayden’s – 9 years, 123 proof
  • Booker’s – 11 years, 129.2 proof

Freddie Noe says,

“This one has a lot of sentimental value. These are the four liquids that my grandad created and the four liquids that my dad marketed. They’re sacred to me. If you had asked me at the beginning if I would ever blend these I’d say hell no – but there are no four liquids that mean more to me than these. ‘The Road Home’ to me is a very sentimental release.”

The question he asked himself was: “If granddaddy was to pioneer a blended whiskey instead of a small batch bourbon, what would he look for?”

He continues:

“Whenever I drive down the road to the distillery, the same one my grandaddy Booker drove down, I’m reminded of his adventurous spirit, especially of his creation of the Small Batch Collection in a time when no one was drinking premium Bourbon.

“I like to think he passed that same spirit along to me, which ultimately led me to blending.”

Thick and leggy

Nose – 92 Points

Salted caramel taffy, baking spice, and sweet rock fruit.

Taste – 91 Points

The palate is a symphony of flavor. The front palate has a hint of dried fruit, roasted nuts, and charred brown sugar with baking spice. It’s a slow build to baking spicing solo that fills the mouth by mid-palate with subtle notes of oak through the finish.

This reminds me more of Knob Creek, Bakers, and Basil Hayden and less of Booker’s. What I don’t get is those complex caramel and vanilla notes. For me, that’s a slight downside.

Finish – 97 Points

It’s long and spicy. Cue Lionel Ritchie:
We’re going to parti’, karamu’, fiesta, forever
Come on and sing along
All night long (all night), all night (all night)
All night long (all night), all night (all night)

Verdict – Gold 93 out of 100 Points

This year the price increased from $100 to $125 but this blend didn’t disappoint. For me, it’s still a buy if you see it. When Jim Beam bourbon is on it’s just on and few other bourbon whiskeys can beat it.

This release of Little Book Whiskey has complexity, full flavor, and a great finish.

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 2 “Noe Simple Task” Review

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 2 Noe Simple TaskDetails
ProductionBlended Whiskey
Age13-year-old Canadian rye whisky at 111.9 proof
8-year-old Kentucky straight rye whiskey at 119.8 proof
40-year-old 100% corn Canadian whisky at 137.8 proof
Proof59.4°
ABV118.8%
Price$99
Distillery James B. Beam Distilling
ProsOpens up with a nice drinking experience.
ConsNot always harmonious
Rating87
InventoryIt's a rye drinkers blended rye whiskey

Freddie describes Little Batch 2 which highlights Canadian whiskeys and ryes:

“For Little Book Chapter 2, I was inspired to work with the extra-aged Canadian whiskies I tasted while visiting our Canadian distilleries last year, but I knew I had my work cut out for me,” said Noe. “The floral, fruit notes Canadian whiskies achieve really intrigued me, along with the aging and production styles that are so different from what we do here in Kentucky. It was a step outside my comfort zone to bring these two worlds of whisk(e)y together, and I’m really proud of the unique blend I was able to achieve.”

Full-bodied and leggy

Nose – 87 Points

The notes that hit my noses were fresh rye bread and dill pickles that lingers but leads into subtle sweet and baking spice notes. It was complex but not fully balanced.

Taste – 89 Points

On first crack, the heat, rye, and baking spice we’re forward. I did not enjoy it. However, this whiskey rounded out nicely after being open a few months. Those abrasive flavors rounded out and played wonderfully with creamy, subtle vanilla notes and hints of floral.

Finish – 86 Points

It comes in like a wrecking ball — pepper, rye, and baking spice forward with millisecond pops of browned sugar cooked down in butter. It’s hot and long.

Verdict – Silver 87 Points

The Bard Silver 300px
For rye lovers and especially rye lovers who love the heat and that unique pickley flavor that’s often found in MGP eyes this would rank much higher.

I appreciated the complexity and experience but did not love it like I did Chapter 1. In a way, that’s part of what I love with these Little Book Whiskey releases — they have a specific vision and are executed by a master craftsman. But that means not every release will sing for every drinker. And that’s OK.

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 1 “The Easy” Review

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 1 "The Easy"

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 1 The EasyDetails
ProductionBlended American Whiskey
Age4 Year Old Bourbon
6 Year Old Rye Whiskey
6 Year Old Malt Whiskey
13 Year Old Corn Whiskey
Proof120.48°
ABV60.24%
Price$79
Distillery James B. Beam Distilling
ProsFrom start to finish a great whiskey
ConsNone
Rating95 Points
InventoryBuy Without Hesitation

Little Book Whiskey Chapter 1 “The Easy” is the first in the series of limited release blended American whiskey released by Jim Beam and blended by Freddie Noe (grandson of Booker and son of current master distiller Fred Noe).

When announced, Freddie had this to say:

“I’m humbled and honored to share Little Book with the world,” said Freddie, Beam fermentation manager. “When I joined the family business five years ago, I told Dad I wanted to learn everything there was to know about making whiskey. Along the way, I discovered I’m particularly fascinated by the endless taste profiles that can be created through blending. I’m excited for whiskey fans to taste the first batch of this annual release, and I look forward to sharing new, one-of-a-kind blends every year. It’s a real honor to carry on my family’s legacy, and I hope I’ve done them proud.”

This first blend consists of 13-year-old corn whiskey (aged in used barrels), 4-year-old bourbon (new, charred barrels), and 6-year-old rye and malt whiskey (new, charred barrels). My full tasting notes are forthcoming but I will say this “Caramel Corn.”

Related: Booker’s Bourbon Batches | List of Booker’s Batches

Butter coating the inside of a box of movie popcorn.

Nose – 96 Points

The nose brought back childhood memories of going to the fair. It’s got it all — sweet caramel apples, buttery popcorn, and Vanilla Coke. And just enough spice to round out the sweet notes and add layers of complexity.

Taste – 96 Points

Those rich fall carnival flavors come through on the palate but with the added surprise of bonfire smoke and balanced spice. This whiskey fully coats your mouth.

Finish – 94 Points

The finish is long. It’s like a warm hug on the Ferris wheel on a breezy fall night. Sweet corn leads to more savory notes with pepper, charred oak, and baking spice.

Verdict – Gold 95 out of 100 Points


I was overwhelmingly pleased with Chapter 1. I’d recommending stocking two or three of these. But this is a whiskey blend for the thinking drinker who enjoys stepping out of the box and appreciates a master playing with his craft.

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Why trust The Bourbon Bard?

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is a storyteller who loves bourbon. He has been drinking and studying whiskey for over 10 years. He has also been featured on sites like Bourbon Sippers, Explore Whiskey, and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys.
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