Spirit Of The Week: Booker’s ‘Lumberyard Batch’ Bourbon
The mythology of the Jim Beam label is among the most celebrated in the American whiskey lore. The names are held in renown.
The legendary Booker Noe (grandson of the eponymous Beam) continued a 200-year-old family tradition where for Christmas every year they would select the best honey barrels from the center-cut of the rick house and bottled the juice for family and closest friends—always uncut and unfiltered, straight from the barrel. In 1988 he allowed a 1,000-case release of this pure bourbon go to market and dubbed it “Booker’s Batch.” A Jim Beam legend was born.
Ever since Booker’s son Fred continued this tradition, using the same “uncut and unfiltered” standard. Now comes the label’s second offering for 2022: Booker’s Batch 2022-02, “The Lumberyard Batch.” The name is derived from the job Booker held before entering the family business of moonshine/distillation.
Of course there’s much more to the story. You see after a failed matriculation at the University of Kentucky, Booker bailed and hitch-hiked across America looking to eventually join the Air Force. When his mom found out she panicked, begged him to come home and work at the local lumberyard with his Uncle Jere.
Built like an ox and famously hard-working, Booker’s work ethic eventually earned him a job at the family distillery—where he proceeded to work nearly every position, eventually earning his position as the sixth-generation Master Distiller (Booker’s grandson, Freddie, was recently named Jim Beam’s eight-generation Master Distiller.)
Aged for exactly seven years, one month and seven days, Booker’s Batch 2022-02 boasts a beautiful deep amber hue redolent with vanilla in both the nose and palate. The Lumberyard Batch packs a wallop at 124.8 proof — so make sure you drop some water or a couple rocks in your dram. But probably too good for a cocktail, even if the bourbon really holds through. $140