The second release in the 2019 series of ç is here, and this one is a nod to an employee tradition we wish we had in our own jobs.
Booker’s Bourbon 2019-02 is named “Shiny Barrel Batch” in honor of a practice undertaken by rackhouse workers back in the day. You see, it can get hot in a rackhouse, and sometimes, you just need a little something to quench that thirst (even if it happens to be barrel proof bourbon). Rackhouse workers would sneak tastes from barrels and, in doing so, would inadvertently wipe the dust off the barrel.
This was a sign to Master Distiller Booker Noe — he knew the best bourbons were kept in those shined up barrels (if you’re up on your whisky lingo, you might know these barrels as “honey barrels”). These barrels were what would go on to be the basis for the Booker’s Bourbon we get to enjoy today.
(Like we said, we wish we could sneak a sip of barrel-proof bourbon during a long work day.)
While this practice isn’t engaged in today at the Jim Beam distillery (or any distillery, we can assume), the fun story associated with the “tradition” has thankfully been brought back to light in the form of this bourbon.
Aged for six years, five months, and one day, Shiny Barrel Batch is unfiltered and bottled at cask strength, 124 proof (62% alcohol by volume). Like many other releases from Booker’s you’ll find a sweet nose and a full body that is rich in vanilla and some caramel. The high alcohol content is evident, but is not overwhelming, especially when a few drops of water or an ice cube are added for slight dilution.
The first release of the year, “Teresa’s Batch” was released in March and was named in honor of longtime distillery employee Teresa Wittemer. Both of 2019’s releases follow in the line of the previous years’ releases, which are named after people, things, or traditions that Booker Noe himself was particularly fond of.
Booker’s “Shiny Barrel Batch” retails for around $80 and can be found in limited qualities across the country.