Booker's 2021-04 "Noe Strangers Batch" Bourbon Review
I've faltered slightly in my mission to review every Booker's batch! I missed this late 2021 release for unknown reasons... I didn't miss picking it up, nor did I miss enjoying a few drams of it already, but somehow it never made either this site or my Instagram page... Odd! Today we fix that as part of a double header with "The Lumberyard Batch". Let's break it down.
Company on Label: James B. Beam
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Barley
Age: 6 years (6 months, 12 days)
Further identification: 2021-04 Noe Strangers Batch comes bearing a sky blue label in a wooden box with a batch information card
Nose: From the glass sitting a foot in front of me I can smell honey sweetness wafting into my nose. There's a beautiful sweet prevalence that is already inviting me to dive in early. Cherry skins, tootsie roll sweetness and skittles candy erupt off the glass as I get my nose closer to the rim of my glencairn glass. A fair bit of good barrel influence levels out as caramel begins to take over on the nose. I can tell there's a good bit of spice on the back end of this one being successfully tamped down by the sweeter, creamy smells. There's a sweet and spicy nutmeg characteristic that reminds me of spending time with family around the holidays. A darker molasses sets in as the glass begins to open up. Time for a sip!
Coming back from a few small sips I find the stone fruit sweetness is still there but it has leveled off evenly with notes of bright tin, smoke and cornbread. It feels complex yet messy and enjoyable yet unrefined. A swirl of the glass unlocks marvelous vanilla heft still tied well to the cherry skins note from earlier. Yum. The vanilla heft sometimes crosses over into the paper category I find Heaven Hill usually elicits. I love coming back to the nose after letting the glass rest a few moments here. The potent confectioners sugar, buttery brioche bread and wallop of cherry sweetness is a delectable combination. The empty glass smells of bread, tarragon, honey and milk chocolate.
Palate: Right away my teeth get shocked by the prevalent sweetness of plum, honey, boozy amaretto, fig and tawny port. The flavor of raisinettes doesn't quite have the power to keep holding down the spice as big notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove burst forth. Another sip levels all of these out with dry oak, creamy lemon caramel sauce, and Mandarin orange cake. There's just a hint of almonds in the linger - nuttiness being an expected hallmark of Beam products. It's surprisingly light on this batch. A larger sip and swish produces punchy tannins, hints of mint and a green earthy tone indicative of a healthy forest with strong undergrowth. The linger is fleeting with a short wave of the a fruity parfait & a short sizzle of cinnamon spice, but I am left satisfied despite the abridged length as it closes out with a soft mouthfeel that follows the storyline of a spoonful of honey. My last sip is well balanced as plum, cardamom and pepper wash over the palate softly.
(Decent. I can go either way on it.)
Although the nose far outpaced the palate here... This is still a decently solid whiskey. I wish it had a bit of a better linger, but I can't complain about any of the flavors that I found. This profile just isn't my personal favorite. Baking spice lovers will certainly like this one. Using some of my historical experiences with other batches this one is definitely not quite as good as Beaten Biscuits, Bardstown Batch, or The Lumberyard Batch for some extra perspective. I hope this review helped you! If it did, consider buying me a cup of coffee. Cheers!