Bottle #: 1894
Age: 13 years, 1 month, 12 days
Tasted: Neat, then with splash of water
The Booker’s Rye is a one time, limited release (rumored to be around 6,000 bottles) that retails for $300. This rye was barreled back in 2003 by Booker Noe and among the last barrels he laid down in his favorite rack house before passing in 2004. While the mashbill of this rye is unknown, it is rumored to be over 70% rye.
Nose: Boom! You can tell by just the nose this is a special pour. Hard to describe, but after smelling hundreds of whiskeys you can smell the age and elegance of the good ones. Heavy rye on the nose. She is still very much kicking! Rich caramel. Vanilla. Old oak. Berries. Dill. Maple Syrup. A lot going on here.
Palate: Woof! She is a bruiser. I guess it shouldn’t come as any surprise coming in at 136 proof. Flavors feel like they are almost bouncing off the tongue. Heavy spice up front. Took me a while, but sea salted chocolate! Old oak. Berries. Banana. Caramel. I usually like cask strength whiskey neat, but I prefer this pour with a touch of water to open up the sweeter notes of caramel, vanilla, and maple syrup. The mouth feel is just slightly oily, but doesn’t really coat the mouth.
Finish: Super long finish!!!! Watch yourself on the first sip. I have tried this whiskey neat on three different occasions now, and each initial sip I can feel the heat of this whiskey work down through my body and settle in my chest. I can’t remember the last time a whiskey has done that to me. Probably not since I first began drinking my whiskey neat. After the initial sip everything settles into place for me. Rye spice. Oak. Berries. Grains.
Grade: 93 – 97 (A) = Exceptional, Superior In Every Way
Update 7/27/2016 – Changed grade from “A-” to “A” after the whiskey has gotten even better with time to open up in the bottle.
This Booker’s Rye is a special pour. So much complexity and uniqueness in this bottle. I have tasted some pretty epic ryes over the years. Sazerac 18. Thomas H. Handy. Hirsch 22 year. Three different Willett 25 year, 100 proof barrels. Willett 24 year, 94 proof rye. The Booker’s Rye is probably tied with the Hirsch 22 year rye as the best rye whiskey I have ever tasted.
I struggled with the grade on this bottle. I ended up bumping it down to an A- because of the $300 price tag and limited mouth-feel, but both minor things. At least in my book. It will be interesting to see how this bottle opens up with a little more air. I usually enjoy my Booker’s Bourbon the most when I’m half way through the bottle. My guess is that the same will occur with this rye, which would easily bump up my grade.Tags: booker's, booker's rye review, Bourbon, bourbon blog, bourbon ranking, bourbon review, cleveland, review, rye whiskey, Whiskey blog, Whiskey review