Bourbon Industry

Jim Beam to release anniversary edition of Booker's bourbon

CLERMONT — For Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe, there has been a lot of change recently — the pending purchase of the company by Japanese company Suntory, teaching new spokeswoman Mila Kunis how to drink bourbon.

But some things don't change so much as get better. That includes the Booker's Small Batch Bourbon created by his father, the late Booker Noe.

This month, Beam will release a special 25th-anniversary edition of Booker's, made with special barrels that Fred Noe set aside several years ago.

"These are some 10-year-old barrels laid down from the last bourbon Dad made before he passed away," Noe said Wednesday. "I have the final say, so if you don't like it, blame Fred. The one thing Dad told me before he died was, 'Take care of my Booker's."

Booker Noe died in February 2004.

Like all Booker's, the special edition, which is to be released any day now, was hand-selected and bottled unfiltered and uncut, at about 125.9 proof. Only about 1,000 cases will be available, priced at $100 a bottle and topped with bronze wax.

The label features some personal features, including Booker's dog, Dot. And in the packaging will be 25 "Bookerisms": sayings from the late distiller.

"I thought it would be kind of cool to do something for Pop," Noe said Wednesday.

He took the first bottle, the prototype, to his 81-year-old mother, Annis Wickham Noe, even pointing out the little dog, who lived for years after Booker Noe died and followed her around.

"She got a little choked up," he said.