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March 2020

Booker's 18-02

Backyard BBQ

With Backyard BBQ what you see is what you get, enjoy!

Age:           6 years 2 months and 10 days bottled at 128.8 proof

 

Nose:         89/100

Cut cedar wood and leather lead into a sweet brown sugar note that mingles with caramel and vanilla, it's warm and inviting with a touch of maple, butterscotch, baking spices, and cinnamon

 

Palate:        86/100

Full-bodied with big pops of leather and light fresh tobacco, buttery sweet honey and caramel transition to faint vanilla blended with that signature Beam nuttiness, in this expression it's almonds and peanuts done in a creamy crisp way

 

Finish:        85/100

A pleasant warmth greets you in the finish with notes of peanuts and oaky vanilla leading the charge, light butterscotch and cedar play sweetly with the bold proof and warm burn before finishing with a simple corn note and charred wood like note that harkens back to the aptly naked Backyard BBQ moniker they placed on this bottle.

 

Overall: 87/100

 

Booker's has earned a reputation for being a big, bold, uncut, unfiltered bourbon whiskey. This batch meets the criteria but lacks the flavor explosions found in other batches. The candied sweetness of the whiskey mixed with the heat make for a fun drinking experience. However while balanced it misses the incredible balance and exceptional depth that can be found in other expressions. There is a great buttery, rich, and sweet side with honey, leather, tobacco, nuts, and vanilla leading the way. This whiskey took no time to open up and was instantly enjoyable with very little air time. I note this because many times Booker's changes as you drink the bottle as many whiskey's do. This bottle isn't one of them it starts out and finishes just as you expect unlike Booker’s 18-01 which got better with air. With Backyard BBQ what you see is what you get, enjoy!

 

Recommendation:

 

Have a pour at the bar. For me this is a fun expression but one that's a bit light and leaves a little to be desired. It's not as big or as hot as a typical Booker's expression. Many may find that a good thing and I would push this on anyone that is curious about barrel proof but nervous because of the heat. As a reviewer this batch is just lacking flare and even with it's balance it simply doesn't pop enough to be recommended as a truly amazing batch. It is a very easy drinking barrel proof but this sits firmly in the middle, not bad and not amazing when compared to other Booker's. When compared to the rest of the new releases in 2018 though, don't sleep on Backyard BBQ. Beam does this to themselves by setting the bar so high making some truly exceptional batches, I just don't think this quite fits the criteria for truly exceptional.

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