Booker’s, always complex and nuanced, releases ‘Shiny Barrel’

By John Trump

Booker’s is and — I’m guessing — will continue to be one of my favorite bourbons.

For myriad reasons, but mostly because it’s always new and always a bit different, yet also always familiar.

It’s unfiltered and uncut. Always complex, deep and nuanced.

Beam Suntory released Teresa’s Batch earlier this year. It’s second offering of 2019, Shiny Barrel Batch, offers the same rich vanilla and caramel notes, with some spice throughout, coming in around 124 proof. Deep chestnut in color, it finishes warm with a satisfying hint of heat.

“This newest expression is an ode to a bygone distillery ‘tradition,’ where back in the day there were the barrels certain rackhouse workers liked to sneak a taste from, and in doing so, they rubbed off the exterior dust and shined them up,”a Beam Suntory news release says. Master Distiller Booker Noe took this as a sign that these barrels contained the real good stuff, it says.

“Some used to say, ‘The shiner the barrel, the sweeter the whiskey,’ and those shiny barrels were often found in the center cut of the rackhouse where the temperature and humidity were just right.”

Fred Noe, Booker’s son and seventh-generation master distiller, continues the family tradition through consistent, interesting offerings, still aging Booker’s barrels in the middle floors of the distillery’s rackhouses.

Drink it neat or with a drop of water.