The New Booker’s “Shiny Barrel Batch” is Named After An Endearing Distillery Tradition

Booker's Shiny Barrel Batch. Courtesy Jim Beam.
Booker's Shiny Barrel Batch. Courtesy Jim Beam.
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The second Booker’s release of 2019 is here, named “Shiny Barrel Batch” in honor of an old employee tradition.

Like all Booker’s releases, “Shiny Barrel Batch” is named for something late Master Distiller Booker Noe held dear. A rickhouse is dusty place, but back in Booker’s day certain “honey” barrels got cleaned up more often than others. Distillery workers looking to sneak a taste from a particular bourbon barrel during the day would siphon out the whiskey with plastic tubing, brushing up against the staves in the process. Their overalls would wipe off the dust of years spent aging, and mark the barrel for other thirsty coworkers to find.

“The shiner the barrel, the sweeter the whiskey,” went the saying, and those shiny barrels were more often than not found in the center of the rickhouse, where the temperature and humidity conditions were most ideal. So 30 years ago, when Noe first laid down the barrels that would become his namesake bottlings, he chose to age them in that same “center” cut.

While Jim Beam is quick to point out that the kind of “quality control” that led to shiny barrels is no longer in practice, they do tell us that this release will be emulating the same “honey barrel” taste profile. “Shiny Barrel Batch” is bottled uncut and unfiltered at 124 proof, and age stated at 6 years, 5 months, and 1 day. It follows “Teresa’s Batch” in the 2019 Booker’s line.

The distillery tells us that the release “offers a sweet nose with a beautiful chestnut color and rich vanilla notes that are signature of Booker’s Bourbon. The finish is medium and warm.”

Bottles are available now in limited quantities for a suggested price of around $80.