- Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:45 pm
Your wife made a nice call on the Booker's. He was a hoot of a man to meet. Never met a stranger. He'd offer you lunch and invite you into his kitchen and fix you a country ham snadwhich, call for his wife to bring a bottle over. He'd uncork the bottle and throw the cork away. Booker Noe, his cousin Parker Beam, Jimmy Russel, Elmer Lee, Jim Rutledge. Some real characters. With only Jimmy and Jim still working the dinosaurs are indeed passing, rip Booker and Elmer. Parker has ALS. If you ever see a Parker Beam Heritage bottle, buy it.
Booker would take his son Freddy on bar tours to promote the Beam small batch collection, btw if you like rye and haven't tried Basil Haydn bourbon do yourself a favor and pick one up. Anyway Booker would tell the story about being in Alaska on a promoting junket. They'd always get a couple different bottles open to get the selling going and Freddy always picked Knob Creek, Booker picked Booker's. Booker asked him his son about always picking KC and Freddy said he just liked it, so Booker dubbed it Freddy's bourbon. Never could get Fred (as he prefers since his Dad died) to admit he somehow out marketed his Dad's Booker's expression, but hey Knob creek is everywhere for the last decade. At a dinner one evening somebody asked Booker what he thought about a person mixing coke with Bookers. He replied, "Well, son, if a person wants the best bourbon and coke they can get it's logical they'd mix it with Booker's."
Jimmy Russel is the real deal too. I saw him last week in town and had him sign a bottle. I wonder how many more chances I will get to do that. Hopefully many more. He doesn't know me but always knows I'm the kid he chided when I questioned him about taking 8 yr old barrels and holding em back two more years to create Russel's Reserve. That was 14 years ago when I was in my late 20's. He claimed I was too young to recall the 8 yr Wild Turkey. I described in detail the label change, and said the bird on the bottle used to be a jake and the whiskey was 8 years old, now the bird is a gobbler and the whiskey inside aint no 8 yrs old. Fred Noe took great delight when I shared this with him some years later, the bird got older and the whiskey younger. He told me he gave Jimmy a hard time about it the next time I saw him but Jimmy was ready this time and retorted to Fred, "just how small batch is your Knob Creek since it's everywhere?"
Jim Rutledge of Four Roses is another good man and makes a fine bourbon. I really like his single barrel.
Somebody asked about the PVW and whether it's worth it. I hashed that out here about a year ago. It's really not, imo. If you found yourself lucky enough to see all the expressions in a retail store, get the Lot B 12 or the 15. YMMV. Sadly, I was in NOLA last week, walked into a Rouses and bought Weller 12 right off the shelf. I can not recall the last time I did that here at home, in KY. I'm to the point of quitting BT products altogether out of principle. But then I think about it, they're just trying to make a buck.