My deep dive into bourbon began in earnest with Knob Creek and Basil Hayden’s. They were the first premium small batch bourbons released, and their mastermind was Booker Noe. At the time of their release, Booker’s legendary career was pretty much over, and I had no idea who he was.
Today, the Bourbon Trail is like Disneyland for adults, whiskey festivals draw crowds of thousands, and they all line up for photos with the Master Distillers. This can all be traced back to Booker Noe, the grandson of Jim Beam, and the first true star of the bourbon world. “One day they just started calling me [Master Distiller],” he said, “I’m not even sure what the hell it means.”