My little brother was thoughtful enough to give me a sampler for Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection over the holidays, so I saw this as a perfect time to complete my reviews of this line by tasting Baker’s. (You can find the other’s here: Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, Booker’s)
What does it mean that I’m reviewing something in its mini-bottle form? Honestly, I’m not too certain either. Sure, this didn’t make it into the full-bottle batch and this can’t be experienced in the same way that the full bottle could; on the other hand, its the same stuff inside and it seems that Beam has taken great care with the miniature versions of their Small Batch Collection.
– Probably a few dollars by itself
– Made by the folks a Jim Beam
– 107 proof
While it’s difficult to judge a bourbon’s bottling when in mini-bottle form, the small batch collection minis do seem to hold largely true to their bigger-bottle form. Knob Creek mini has its distinctive angular form and Basil Hayden mini has its tall, distinguished proportions. Baker’s and Booker’s bottles are given a tear-drop form that is only mildly reminiscent of their actual shape, but represent a valiant effort in miniaturization, regardless.
I do remember liking the Baker’s distinctive capital B and use of type during visits to the bar and the mini-bottle uses this same motif to only slightly more confusing effect (the capital ‘B’ is right next to the ‘B’ in “Baker’s” making it look like “BBaker’s”.)
Lines and fills are ever so slightly rough and overly bold in order to mimic an old letter press and come in varying typefaces. One edge of the label is serrated while the others are smooth. All in all, this comes across as the older brother of Knob Creek. Not afraid to stray from the yarns of long-dead grandfathers that adorn other bourbons, but not dispatching with a sense of history over all.
Very upfront nose. Citrus, grass, roasted almond, fresh cherry. There is very little subtlety about this aroma, but it is pleasant and un-astringent for a 100+ proofer.
On tasting it’s sweet, with some notes of oats and citrus, finishing with a nice lingering warmth and some tanginess, this settles into a vanilla-and-smoke after a while.
Baker’s is not shy. It is bright for the most part and settles into something a little more subdued over time. I actually like this one quite a bit – and it may even be my favorite of the small batch collection from Beam. That said, it also is the one that reminds me the most of Jim Beam black – and that’s not a bad thing in my book.
I’ll have to pick up a full-sized edition when I get a chance.