Today we continue our tasting journey within the Beam Small Batch Bourbon Collection by featuring a review Baker’s Bourbon.
Baker’s, like Basil Hayden’s, is one of four Bourbons that make up Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. (Knob Creek and Booker’s round out the Small Batch Collection.)
According to information found on the Small Batch Collection website, Baker’s was…
Named after Baker Beam, grand nephew of the legendary Jim Beam, Baker’s® Bourbon is seven-years-old and hand-bottled at 107 proof. Embracing over six generations of distilling experience, Baker’s Bourbon utilizes a special strain of jug yeast that has been in the family for over 60 years. This time tested yeast provides Baker’s with a silky smooth texture and consistent taste from batch to batch.
This was my first time tasting Baker’s, as it was never really on my radar before receiving some samples from Beam. I’d read a lot of mixed reviews on Baker’s so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Some people say it’s a great Bourbon for Cognac lovers while others have stated it took them 3 or more tastings, on separate occasions, before they decided the really enjoyed Baker’s. Not exactly the type of endorsements that make you rush out a grab a bottle for your personal collection.
So how did my tasting go? Let’s jump right in and explore the findings of my Baker’s Bourbon review.
Age: 7 years
How I Drank It: Neat, in my special bourbon glass (please don’t be jealous)
My Nose Noticed:* Caramel | Vanilla | Cedar | Hint of Orange
First Sip: Sweet Spice | Oak | Dried Fruit
The Burn:** Upon my first sip I noticed two things. First, a nice fiery bite on the front of my tongue. Second, the liquid has a nice balance to it. Whereas Basil Hayden’s is very light on the tongue, Baker’s has more weight to it but not enough to feel heavy. I would say that the weight of the Bourbon is perfect. Spice quickly fills your mouth and then resolves into a warm mid-throat burn that disappears way too quickly. Once the burn is gone you’re left with a slightly sweet after taste that is rather dry and not to my liking.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: At 107 proof, Baker’s is starting to get serious, but I found that adding water took a lot of the flavor out of this one and over-amplified the oak flavor. I’d try to drink this one neat if possible. If you need to temper it a bit, drop a single ice cube in but don’t sit around too long or it will wind up releasing a heavy dose of oak without the required companion flavor notes to make it work.w
Share With: I’d share Baker’s with someone who is learning about Bourbon and eager to do some side-by-side tastings to develop their palette. It’s not a Bourbon that I would single out to drink on its own.
Worth The Price: If you’re serious about your Bourbon and are looking to have bottles on hand to compare and contrast during tastings I think it’s worth the $35 you’d spend to pick it up at most liquor stores.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: If you’re new to Bourbon I think you can skip this one for now. Those of you who are well into your Bourbon journey might want to grab a bottle as part of obtaining the entire Small Batch Bourbon Collection. It’s not a bad Bourbon in my opinion but it’s also not one that fits within what I like personally. There’s a lot to learn by having some on hand but I would consider it a educational investment more than a pleasure purchase.
*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.
**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?
To recap, Baker’s has a wonderful texture and mouthfeel. However, the burn is too little, too late and too short. I was left wanting more but not in a good way. I’ll revisit this one a few more times over the next few months to see if it grows on me as others have reported. If I change my mind I will let you know. Until then let us know your thoughts on Baker’s in the comments.