Little Book Chapter 3 is Series’ First Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Little Book Chapter 3, The Road Home. Photo Courtesy Jim Beam.

Little Book Chapter 3: The Road Home, will be the first Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey in the Little Book line, blending all four Jim Beam Small Batch bourbons.

The Little Book series, first released in 2017, is the brainchild of eighth generation distiller Freddie Noe. Noe, whose father Fred currently holds the title of Master Distiller at Jim Beam, named the series after the nickname given to him by his grandfather, legendary Beam Master Distiller Booker Noe.

Little Book Chapter 1: The Easy broke down the key grains used to build a bourbon, blending corn whiskey, rye whiskey, and malt whiskey with a touch of Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Chapter 2: Noe Simple Task, blended Canadian and American ryes with an unexpected 40-year-old corn whiskey aged in used bourbon barrels.

The new release is the first straight bourbon in the line, blending all four Jim Beam Small Batch bourbons – Basil Hayden’s, Knob Creek, Booker’s, and Baker’s. Each component is well-aged, unfiltered, and blended at barrel proof, so this isn’t a bourbon you can recreate at home.

“This one has a lot of sentimental value,” says Freddie Noe of Little Book Chapter 3. “These are the four liquids that my grandad created and the four liquids that my dad marketed. They’re sacred to me. If you had asked me at the beginning if I would ever blend these I’d say hell no – but there are no four liquids that mean more to me than these. ‘The Road Home’ to me is a very sentimental release.”

As he began to sort through different samples and blends, Noe found himself coming back to one question. “If granddaddy was to pioneer a blended whiskey instead of a small batch bourbon, what would he look for?” he remembers asking himself.

The answer came in the form of a familiar nose. “When you hand someone a glass of whiskey, the first thing they do is stick it to their nose,” explains Noe. “If it has a flat nose, it changes your perspective before you even drink it. A strong, welcoming aroma and a finish that hangs around is very important to me.”

The Knob Creek that he chose as the base of his blend had that welcoming aroma. “When I first put that Knob up to my nose, it took me back to smelling whiskey in granddaddy’s kitchen,” he remembers.

Noe doesn’t share the exact proportions of the four Jim Beam Small Batch products he used for Little Book Chapter 3, but they are listed below in order of the greatest amount used.

Knob Creek – 9 years old, 117.4 proof
Baker’s – 12 years old, 126.6 proof
Basil Hayden’s – 9 years, 123 proof
Booker’s – 11 years, 129.2 proof

The final tasting notes provided by the distillery include a nose of “caramel, smoky barrel char, sweet baking spices, and vanilla,” with “vanilla, char, and dried apricot with lingering oak on the palate.” The finish is said to be “lingering, warm and sweet, layered with tones of oak.”

While Chapter 2: Noe Simple Task was named for the huge amount of time it took Noe and his team to create the blend, Little Book Chapter 3 actually took longer.

“It was recipe 51 of 57 that we finally chose,” says Noe. “It took me longer [than Chapter 2], but a lot of it was that I was working with liquids that were so great on their own. I wanted to give them their justice in the blend.”

He notes that although he thinks of all his Little Book releases as blended whiskeys, everything going into the Chapter 3 blend is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. “A blend of four bourbons is technically still a bourbon according to the TTB” Noe explains.

Little Book Chapter 3: The Road home is bottled at 122.6 proof. It’s hitting shelves now with a suggested retail price of around $125.

Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.