The 2015 Booker’s Roundtable is Announced… And It Features A Steak

Bookers 2015 Roundtable

Booker’s is a cask strength bourbon from Jim Beam that is available year-round. Being a mix of different single casks, with no water added, different batches of Booker’s will taste differently since they’re not mixing barrels and water in the same way they do something like Jim Beam Black to try and keep a consistent flavor all the time. In addition to the normal batch releases there are also “special editions” of this that comes out called the Booker’s Roundtable.

For the roundtable releases Fred Noe (Booker’s son and current Jim Beam master distiller) gathers together a bunch of whiskey writers, experts and the like to taste through different barrels of JIm Beam and figure out which ones should go into that next batch. The first roundtable of 2015 happened earlier this year and who knows, maybe one day they might ask The Whiskey Jug to join them and I can give y’all the inside scoop on what’s it’s like to participate (a man can dream).

Here’s what we know about the 2015 Booker’s Roundtable so far:

  • It’s being called “The Center Cut” and the label features a steak (see above).
  • These barrels were taken from the 5th floor (center cut) which is apparently where Booker always picked his favorite barrels from.
  • Booker also apparently aged his own meat and enjoyed the center cut (hence the image) there too.
  • Proof: 127.2
  • Age: 7 years, 2 months and 28 days
  • Nose: Vanilla with oak
  • Finish: Long, sweet finish
  • MSRP: $55

Fred also has this to say about the first roundtable release of 2015.

“It was Dad’s tradition to gather friends around his kitchen table to taste and select the next batch of Booker’s Bourbon,” said Fred Noe in a statement, “and I’m proud to honor his legacy with this first Roundtable selection of 2015. This batch gives Booker’s Bourbon fans a look at the man behind the bourbon. A man who enjoyed the simple things in life, including a strong, robust bourbon, a juicy center cut of meat, and family and friends to enjoy it with.”

So what do you think? Will you be tracking down a bottle? I haven’t picked up a new bottle of Booker’s in a while and I think it might be about time.


Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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7 Responses to The 2015 Booker’s Roundtable is Announced… And It Features A Steak

  1. I bought a bottle of Booker’s last year and while I prefer cask strength, and/or full flavored whiskey, this specific example was too much. Too high in its alcohol content and too dark in its flavor profile with dry tobacco and old leather dominating. I tried it with ice and with water, but all that did was thin out the flavor and burn without adding any of of the subtle flavors you would expect from a bourbon. If you drink for the sole purpose of getting drunk as fast as you can, I would highly recommend Booker’s, otherwise, not so much.

  2. The real problem is that the Beam distillers do not know what “the center cut” actually means in the world of bourbon. It doesn’t mean the middle rick of the warehouse, it means the middle of the distillation run–also called the hearts. You discard the heads and the tails and keep the center cut so your whiskey is mellow and doesn’t have harsh flavors, caused by the non-ethanol congeners. Booker’s has the HARSHEST burn of any bourbon I’ve ever tasted (around 40 at this point). If they actually knew what “the center cut” means, maybe it would be a good bourbon. How ironic that the only bourbon to be advertised as “the center cut” has precisely the immense flaws that could have been avoided had they knew the real meaning of that phrase!

  3. Alan, most all bourbon is distilled on a column still. There is no hearts cut, since there is no cut at all–it’s a constant process, with constant flows in and out of the still.

    • Column stills behave like a series of single pot stills. You still have to make cuts. It is not operated continuously, it is charged with wash (beer, essentially), and run until the alcohol is mostly boiled out of the wash. The first condensate that comes off the still is high in acetaldehyde, acetone, methanol, ethyl acetate, and other congeners–it needs to be discarded. And you need to know when to stop the process as well because the tails contain more propanol, butanol, butyl acetate, amyl alcohol, amyl acetate, furfural, etc. The difference between a pot and a column still is that with a column still, you don’t need to do a second and third distillation because of the reflux going on in the fractionating column. Barrel aging does take care of eliminating some of the congeners, but if they are reduced to begin with, the result is much smoother (and more enjoyable in my opinion). Try anything (over $25) from Buffalo Trace and you’ll see what smooth bourbon is like. The difference is the spirit going into the barrels. Buffalo Trace obviously run their stills slower, or cuts closer to the heart of the run.

      • Sorry, I was describing a reflux column still. But in a continuous column still, you still need to calibrate it to control the amount of reflux, and know where (not when) in the column to take the distillate, and where not to collect.

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