By John Trump
The third Booker’s release this year honors sixth-generation master distiller Booker Noe’s love for the art of curing — and tasting — country hams.
It may be this year’s best batch, if not one of the more vibrant and flavorful Booker’s offerings the distillery has released. The unfiltered, uncut Booker’s clocks in at 124.7 proof. It’s aged for six years, four months and two days. I find it sweeter than most Booker’s releases, but that’s a good thing, considering the inherent spice because of the high alcohol content. The nose hints of leather, with a rich, buttery taste of caramel and warm vanilla.
Booker’s grandfather Jim Beam, the news release says, would age ham inside his own backyard smokehouse, still there today.
“Once Booker moved into the house years later, he decided to keep the tradition alive. He would hang 50 country hams from the smokehouse at a time, smoke them for a few days, wrap them up in newspaper and let the curing magic carry on for 12 to 18 months. Booker was so passionate about his ham that he was known to keep one in the trunk of his car. Once, he even brought it into a fine dining restaurant to show the chef how real Kentucky country ham should taste.
The 2019 Batch Collection will feature four releases, each in limited quantities and featuring a unique label and batch name honoring founding distiller Booker Noe, his love of family and his spirit of experimentation. Country ham follows Teresa’s Batch and Shiny Barrel Batch, released earlier this year.
It runs about $80.