Saturday, September 8, 2018

Booker's "Front Porch Batch" Kentucky Straight Bourbon

- $65
- 125.9 Proof
- 6 yrs., 5 mos., 25 days
- Batch No. 2017-03
- Kentucky

It's been quite some times since I've taken on a bottle of Booker's. In fact, aside from the occasional bar pour, it's been almost three years. The last bottle I had was on New Year's Eve, and I recall having one of the worst hangovers in recent history the next day. I also recall, however, being a fan.

I had heard good things about this particular batch, and when I found it on the shelf, a good year after its release, I figured now was the time to re-visit Booker's.

When I first popped this cork, I got pure ethanol. It did nothing but singe my nose hairs, and I couldn't even attempt to find other notes.  In fact, my first pour was no different -- pure burn. So much so that I didn't even bother with a second glass, and I didn't even go back to the bottle for a couple weeks.

However, when I did, while the burn remained there, the flavors really started to take over, layered just beneath that alcohol burn. It developed a nice richness and complexity that I wasn't sure was possible at first. The nose took on notes of cherry and brown sugar, even a molasses type note. It also had a distinct clove quality to it which is one of my favorite smells. It was very rich and very spicy, but with some sweetness mixed in.

The palate for the most part matched the nose. It was heavy on the vanilla up front, with a decent amount of dark cherry added. It also had a significant cinnamon note up front, something I usually get more on the back end, making this taste a lot like a spiced cherry pie.

The back end was a bit different, though. The vanilla didn't linger as I would have expected it, but rather it was a sweet brown sugar finish that coated the throat. Slowly, cinnamon and amaretto notes then snuck in, leading to a nice, complex finish that never seemed to go away. I found myself enjoying the flavor of this one long after each sip.

It also had a certain amount of dryness to it, some wood notes that I didn't expect given its age. While I liked all the flavors that were going on, I had a hard time getting past the alcohol burn on this one. I've had a number of bourbons at even higher proofs than this that weren't so full of burn. This one was very aggressive in that respect, and it never seemed to peter out like I had hoped it would, even on the last few pours. It's a shame, because everything else about this bourbon was great!

Grade: B

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