The Baker’s label is one of the original small batch Bourbons introduced by Jim Beam Distilleries in the 1990s. It is named for Baker Beam, who worked at the distillery at that time, but has since started his own trucking company. I have a fondness for Baker Beam as he was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2006, the same year that Bill Freil and I were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Even before that, I always thought that the Baker’s small-batch was my favorite of the group that included, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek and Booker’s small batch Bourbons.
This is the first new expression of the Baker’s label. It is bottled at 107 proof, just like the small-batch expression, and bottled at least seven years old. It is an attractive bottle and reasonably priced for a single barrel Bourbon. It may become one of my favorite Beam Bourbons.
Baker’s Single Barrel Bourbon
Age: 8 years, 6 months
Nose: Lots of oak wood, vanilla and some fruit – berries or maybe sour cherries.
Taste: Oak, pipe tobacco, pepper spice, caramel and a hint of fruit – cherries or dates. When tasted with a dried cranberry the caramel comes forward with a hint of honey, but the oak and pepper fade into the background. When tasted with a pecan it becomes fruit-forward with berries and cherries with a hint of honey and baking spices.
Finish: Long and dry with oak and pepper spice. The cranberry makes the spice more of a cinnamon spice. The pecan made the finish longer and drier with lots of oak tannins and pepper spice.
I am pairing this Bourbon with a La Boheme Poeta toro cigar. The smoke has caramel notes with an earthy flavor of hay and rich tobacco. The Bourbon brings forward the caramel and vanilla notes and added a dried fruit sweetness to the smoke. The smoke made the Bourbon sweeter with lots of caramel and vanilla and less pepper and oak. It is a very good pairing.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller