It's no surprise I've got another Booker's batch ready for review... These things come out 4 times a year normally - the most recent exception being 2020 which only featured 3. I won't wax poetic on the history of the brand as I believe I have covered that well in previous posts, but I think many have noticed the price continuing to creep up these days. I don't normally discuss price point as everyone's buying power is a little different, so I'll leave 'worth' for you to decide based on my notes.
The Booker's website describes the makeup of the blend well:
2% came from the 4th floor of 7-story warehouse X 3% came from the 3rd floor of 7-story warehouse 5 3% came from the 4th floor of 9-story warehouse D 17% came from the 4th floor of 7-story warehouse Z 19% came from the 5th floor of 7-story warehouse Q 28% came from the 4th floor of 7-story warehouse 1 28% came from the 6th floor of 7-story warehouse Z
Now let's get into another Booker's review ... could this be amongst one of the greats? Let's find out.
Company on Label: James B. Beam
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Barley
Age: 7 years (1 months, 7 days)
Further identification: 2022-02 The Lumberyard Batch comes bearing a light green label in a wooden box with a batch information card
Nose: Mmm. A savory blend of salted caramel, molasses and dark walnut greets my nose upfront. It's not quite savory like Country Ham, but more so savory like more traditionally nutty batches. It's distinctly wood forward balanced by softer textures like buttery pecans, toffee and dark forest soil. Vanilla comes across slightly drying. Deep inhales bring up small flashes of lemon peel and brown sugar. Let's have a sip!
Coming back to the glass I notice a new layer of leather that doesn't quite suggest a complete, higher aged bourbon, but a great balanced freshness. It suggests there might be some exceptional whiskey in here but it's been blended for volume (quite well from what I've gathered thus far). It feels both traditional and quite unique for its category. The darker earthy tones that support the tame yet funky oak do really well here. It's not infinitely layered, but it does a few things really well here. The volume is just right and every inhale produces something appealing whether it be vanilla, molasses or those delicious buttered pecans. It feels like a delicious bar snack in a glass! Late in the glass the earthy tones return well - it reminds me of being out in the woods in the Fall, an activity I truly try to maximize every year. The empty glass smells potent with layers of wood dominating with an earthy funk that is unmatched in modern whiskey. Smoked peanuts trail off as the last vapors of the pour expire.
Palate: Right away I notice a cooling mouth feel of tingly lemon zest. It is followed by a sweeping wave of brown sugar, molasses and tame oak. It is distinctly sweeter than I would expect out of a Booker's batch with a hint of that first bite of a fresh, juicy apple. Another sip and swish brings in cherry skins, a slight tinge of cinnamon, a large dose of a comfortable Kentucky hug through the chest, and a shimmering linger of fruit and nut bars. Oh wow - about halfway through the glass strawberry flavors burst forth producing a nice fruit parfait experience. All these sweet notes are balanced well by a bready base of granola, nutty brown sugar cookie, and graham cracker. A larger sip and swish allows me to find raisin, raspberry and malted caramel ice cream. My last sip is a sweet return to the cherry skins and that juicy bite of an apple. The linger is long and tingling with just a hint of sweet grape effervescence behind a strong wave of vanilla.
Everything here produced completely satisfying experiences, though I struggled to find exceptional depth which kept it out of the 5 category for me. In context to previous batches this one definitely stands out in my mind as being one of the better ones. I'd put it in the same league as Bardstown Batch and Tagalong Batch. Cheers!