Published on February 25th, 2014 | by Siz2
Baker’s Small Batch Bourbon
- Kind of Spirit:Bourbon
- Distillery:Jim Beam
- Alcohol Percentage:53.5%
- Color:Nut Brown
- Aroma:Vanilla, Caramel, Leather
- Average Price:$45
You’ve probably heard of all the folklore surrounding bourbon and the royalty of the industry, the Beams. One name that you probably haven’t heard, unless you’re in a lot of bourbon circles is that of Baker Beam. He’s the grand nephew of the infamous Jim Beam. There’s not a ton of backstory behind this bourbon, other than the fact that it’s part of Beam’s Small Batch collection which consists of: Baker’s, Booker’s, Basil Hayden’s and Knob Creek. You might be most familiar with the last one there. Most everyone I’ve talked to has at least experienced Knob Creek before.
Personally, I love what they’re doing over at Jim Beam & Co. They’re bringing the artisan back to whiskey making. They have their big giant stills running off all that white label that is everyone’s favorite well whiskey, but then they get back to craft of making delicious small batch bourbons. I’ve only had Baker’s Small Batch Bourbon once before this review. That was when I stopped in at the Jim Beam distillery on the way up to Louisville. I went in and missed the last tour of the day, but they still let me do the tasting. So can’t beat that right? I make sure to get an ounce of Baker’s because it was the only one of the Small Batch Collection that I had not tried yet. I remember thinking quite fondly of it back then and I was ready to try it again.
This Baker’s Small Batch Bourbon comes out of the bottle at 107 proof. It’s been aged 7 years and according to their website it’s hand bottled. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I guess it helps add into the nostalgia factor. One of the more unique things about this bourbon is the fact that it uses a yeast strain that has been in the family over 60 years. I can’t help but smile when I think about that. There’s not too many things that have been consistent for 60 years. If you think about how yeast is kept alive, it’s pretty incredible to think about honestly. If that strain ever dies or doesn’t get tended to, then their product is ruined. Enough about the doom and gloom, lets think about some positive things instead. Better yet, I think it’s time to hop into the review.
The bottle that contains this Baker’s Small Batch Bourbon could easily be mistaken for a wine bottle. If you take out this rich dark colored bourbon I can almost bet you money that people would think it’s a wine bottle. That is until they put it up next to their sniffer and take a whiff. Then they’ll know that it had some of Kentucky’s finest inside it.
The label on the front of this bottle is fairly simple and to the point. It has a big bold “B” in the center. It’s set apart from the dark background and is even using a somewhat rustic or rubbed font. I’m not sure of the exact terminology, but that’s what it looks like to me. Below the big B is the name “Baker’s”. Next to the name is the 7 year age statement and 107 proof. Overall not really outlandish packaging, but it gets the job done.
One thing that I do love about this Baker’s Small Batch Bourbon packaging is the black wax at the top. It’s keeping the cork stopper sealed tight and keeping that delicious bourbon aroma packed into the bottle. They’ve included a nice little tear strip to help you break the seal so you don’t cut your thumb off trying to remove the wax. If that wasn’t there then I guess you have to whip out your good Old Timer pocket knife and start sawing. At least thats how they did it back in the good ole days. Either way I’m happy to have my appendages in good shape and not having to use a knife to remove the wax.
The actual bourbon that is in the bottle has a beautiful hue to it. It’s darker than most of the bourbons I’ve been drinking lately. Granted the background of my pictures is black which does make the bourbon appear to be darker. It does a pretty good job of being dark on its own. Its gone past the stage of deep amber and it’s moved on to the nut brown hue. It’s like it has been sitting inside of a barrel aging or something. I’m not sure what that’s all about. Enough talk about the bottle and packaging. Let’s get into this bourbon!
As soon as I open this bottle of Baker’s Small Batch Bourbon I have to let it sit and air out just a bit. I know coming out at 107 proof it’s going to give off quite a large dose of alcohol vapors and I don’t want that overpowering my sniffer. So I remove the cap and leave the room for about 5 minutes. Then I come back in and I can instantly smell the bourbon and it is glorious!
So I pour myself a dram into my Glencairn tasting glass and begin to swirl it. Instantly I’m picking up on some big notes of vanilla and toffee. They are delicious and full. I continue swirling and there seem to be notes coming out from every corner of the glass. The next one that I notice is a faint scent of leather. I’m instantly thinking that this bourbon would go fantastic with a Cuban cigar. I have a feeling that combination would be absolutely incredible. The unique notes that a Cuban gives off would go down so well the nose of this Baker’s. I’m also picking up on some faint notes of cocoa and nuts. They’re kind of hidden and I don’t get them every time, but they’re in there for sure.
Now that I’m finally done swirling, it’s time to take a swig. The first thing that hits my palate is that same vanilla note I got in the nose. It’s the defining note of this bourbon and it’s fantastic. Absolutely love it. I’m also getting some nice nutty notes and hints of spice. The caramel really hits at the end and finishes the taste on the palate with a nice sweetness to it to wash it all down. As I rub my tongue along the roof of my mouth I can’t help but pick up some dark fruit. I don’t think it’s plum, but maybe some cherry notes? Fantastic either way. I’m a big fan of this Baker’s Small Batch Bourbon right now.
You know what I always say, the finish of the bourbon is what separates a good one from a great one. After that caramel washes everything down I’m left with a nice tingling in my throat. Then the spice starts to kick in a bit. There is a slight hint of pepper that lingers around. The finish is around a medium length to me. It doesn’t vanish right away, but it doesn’t linger either. It definitely encourages you to take another sip to experience it all over again.
Baker’s Small Batch Bourbon: 9/10
I’ve got to be honest, I’m a huge fan of this bourbon. I didn’t know that I would like it as much as I do. To me it’s got a great balance of sweet and heat. Even though it comes out at 107 proof it doesn’t hit you like you think it would. It’s a nice solid sweetness that is very well balanced all the way around. I couldn’t quite give it a 10 because I don’t think it’s up there in terms of some of the other bourbon’s that I’ve given a 10 to. It’s just a notch lower. Still an incredible bottle of juice and if you haven’t tried it yet then you’re missing out.