Booker’s Noe Hard Times Review

Distiller: Jim Beam. ABV: 63.9%. Age: 6 years, 10 months, 1 day. Price: $60 (and rising).

Got the 2016 Booker’s Noe Hard Times for Christmas and I’ve been ever so slowly savoring it.

It’s a monster at 63.90% ABV, aged a bit short of 7 years. The nose is a vanilla blast, with a subtle corn foundation, along with hints of ballgame peanuts, cooked sugar, and heavy wood smoke. The palate, once some water is added, is a thrilling combination of vanilla, corn, drying wood, and dark fruit. The finish, in true Booker’s fashion, goes on and on.

Beam ruffled a lot of feathers with the December 2016¬†announcement that they were hiking the price of Booker’s from $60 to $100. They claimed supply constraints, which convinced roughly no one. (Booker’s is one of the few bourbons of its quality and popularity that’s been consistently available in most parts of the country.) Some doomsayers blamed the success of the recent Booker’s Rye. After that (very limited) bottling flew off the shelves at $300 a pop, they said, it was natural that Beam would try to squeeze more profit out of the bourbon.

As of January 2017, at least, Beam had dialed back its plans, saying the price would creep up from $60 to $75 this year, and toward $100 after that. Even so, no one’s celebrating the move. But if the product is gonna remain like good, I’ll keep seeking it out.

Cheers, friends, and happy sipping! – TM

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