Booker's Bourbon Lumberyard Batch​ Review [In Depth]

Booker's Bourbon Lumberyard Batch

Alex author
Founder, writer
Booker's Lumberyard Batch header

Booker's Bourbon Lumberyard Batch​ Details

Distillery: Jim Beam

Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA

Alcohol: 62.4%

Composition: 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% barley

Aged: 7 years, 1 month, 7 days

Color: 1.4/2.0 on the color scale (tawny)

Price: $90-110

From the company website:

This batch was pulled during the rainy weeks ahead of the Kentucky Derby. The beautiful amber color of this batch reminds me of the horses that will compete on the racetrack. The aroma is deep with hints of vanilla and oak that lead you back to enjoy it several times to explore its depth. It has a balanced taste with a bit of sweetness and a pleasant finish that will leave you longing for another sip. My dad would be really proud to have a batch dedicated to his hard-working years at The Lumberyard and the experience this liquid delivers with every glass.

Booker's Bourbon Lumberyard Batch​ overview

For years (since 1992), Bookers was more or less the top of the line release (but not limited release) from Jim Beam. That has since been surpassed by Hardin’s Creek and Knob Creek 15 and 18. I guess I mention that because…Booker’s is expensive and one of the top of the line bourbons from Jim Beam.
At its core, Booker’s Bourbon is a small batch bourbon released four times per year, with each batch commemorating a piece of Booker Noe’s life and the things that influenced him.
The second batch of 2022, called the Lumberyard Batch, is meant to commemorate the lumberyard that Booker worked at before working at Jim Beam. There’s more nuance to that, but that’s the short version. Each batch is blended differently, and this one is 7 years 1 month 7 days old (minimum age in the blend). That’s all well and good, and I’ve had great experiences with Booker’s in the past.
Jim Beam says that “this batch is made up of five production dates that were aged in seven different warehouses. The breakdown of barrel storage for Booker’s The Lumberyard Batch is as follows:
  • 2% came from the 4th floor of 7-story warehouse X
  • 3% came from the 3rd floor of 7-story warehouse 5
  • 3% came from the 4th floor of 9-story warehouse D
  • 17% came from the 4th floor of 7-story warehouse Z
  • 19% came from the 5th floor of 7-story warehouse Q
  • 28% came from the 4th floor of 7-story warehouse 1
  • 28% came from the 6th floor of 7-story warehouse Z
I appreciate that Jim Beam provides the age of the blend (7 years, 1 month, 7 days), which is not a given these days, but the percentage breakdown of where barrels came from by floor and warehouse doesn’t really mean anything. These warehouses on their own don’t mean anything until you provide the ages of the various barrels coming from each location (like with Baker’s). Otherwise, it feels like unhelpful information disguised as transparency. It’s not.
But that’s where Booker’s is supposed to shine: with barrel selection (and the nice box). Booker’s Lumberyard Batch is younger than the 9 year old Knob Creek Single Barrel and only 2% ABV higher, so you’re paying for better tasting barrels and the craft to blend them in a compelling way.
Let’s find out if this bourbon was aged in some good wood in this Booker’s Bourbon Lumberyard Batch review.
Booker's Lumberyard Batch front
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Booker's Bourbon Lumberyard Batch​ smell

Booker’s Lumberyard Batch starts with dense candied caramel that’s caked onto a pot, dried apricot, a lot of roasted oak, heat, vanilla custard, dried red apple doused in cinnamon, orange peel, dry nuttiness, caramel nougat, clove, licorice, and hints of chocolate and coconut. It’s sweet, oaky, and hot up front with fruit in the background.
This feels very on-profile for Jim Beam, and feels very similar to Baker’s Bourbon, or at least the 8 year and 7 months old one I reviewed. It smells very good so far, but not necessarily all that impressive.
After swirling, Booker’s Lumberyard Batch goes heavy on the candied caramel followed by spiced apple, dense roasted oak, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, orange zest, nutty peanut brittle, dried apricot, nutmeg, and fennel. The heat is everywhere, not quite overbearing, but not shy either. It’s become more sweet and oaky, and less fruity and herbal.
Booker’s Bourbon takes a long long time to open up, like 20 minutes long. That’s when the lower-end sweetness finally sets back in and pushes the heat aside, but I still wish it were less hot though.
Booker’s Lumberyard Batch smells great, but doesn’t earn any points for being all that impressive or unique. It’s big, burly, brash, and basic at times.

Booker's Bourbon Lumberyard Batch​ taste and aftertaste

At first I taste dense caramel, brown sugar, and tons of oak, then cinnamon, vanilla, dried cherry, clove, baked red apple chips, dark chocolate, and peanut brittle. Booker’s Bourbon Lumberyard Batch has big and bold dark sugar and oak flavors, unabashed cask strength muscle that’s oily with background fruit and herbalness.
There’s heat, but it’s generally well controlled. It doesn’t destroy my senses and I can process everything else while the alcohol floats around. But as I process, I can’t help but constantly think that it’s not at all unique or interesting. And as bold and viscous as it is, it doesn’t have a lot of low-end roundness.
After “chewing” I get big roasted caramel and nougat, oak, and peanut brittle, then red apple coated in cinnamon, clove, vanilla custard, dried cherry and orange zest, pear, fennel, coconut, and roasted coffee. Now it’s very oily. Booker’s often feels very sweet, oaky, and nutty, but in a way that feels kind of one dimensional. There are occasional moments where the brighter vanilla, citrus, and pear come out to feel more bright, but it feels disjointed. The dark sweetness and oak run the show.
The finish starts with oily caramel, vanilla, roasted oak and then more roasted oak, peanut brittle, cinnamon, and dried orange. It’s dry and oily with lingering nutty sweetness. It’s not cloying dry and oaky, but it’s very dry and oaky. After “chewing” it leaves oily caramel, peanut brittle, oak, cinnamon, and dried orange zest.
Booker’s Bourbon Lumberyard Batch is delicious, but it’s not that special. I keep thinking, “this is great, but so what?”. I think I prefer the Baker’s Single Barrel that I reviewed.

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Booker's Bourbon Lumberyard Batch​ Rating

Top Shelf
This is a really tough one. Overall, Booker’s Bourbon Lumberyard Batch is a delicious bourbon that’s big on flavor, just enough to be “Top Shelf”, but not so big on nuance or complexity. It’s a blunt hammer of caramel, oak, and nuttiness. Jim Beam does not earn many points for that. Honestly, as much as I like it, it’s not that far off from being ‘Mid Shelf+”. On a different day, it’s possible that I would have gone a different way, which is a terrible sign for a $90-110 bourbon that’s supposed to emphasize great blending.
I know that every batch is different, but I don’t have the time or interest to review all of them to find out how they vary. All I know is that as “premium” as Booker’s is supposed to be, Lumberyard Batch doesn’t fully deliver that type of experience. Price doesn’t factor into the rating, but in terms of how I feel about it, I’m mostly confused and concerned that Booker’s is trending downwards.
Solely based on The Lumberyard Batch, Booker’s is far from a must buy. It’s painfully overpriced, priced as if they sourced it from somewhere. This seems to be the type of bourbon that’s for the person who loves Booker’s and has to get every batch, or the person who wants to splurge on a well-known brand. My recommendation, look elsewhere to splurge.
For a “Top Shelf” bourbon, I’m strangely disappointed. Let me reiterate that this is a big, burly, and intense bourbon that’s still delicious, but this should be so much more. I know for a fact that Jim Beam makes amazing bourbon, just look at Hardin’s Creek Jacob’s Well 15 Year and Baker’s Bourbon.

If people truly believe that this is one of the “better” batches of 2022 (whether or not it actually is, I don’t know), then people should just avoid Booker’s entirely for a while until Jim Beam figures out how to bring back their A game. Or, maybe they’ve moved their A game to the Hardin’s Creek lineup where they charge even more money.

Higher prices and lower quality is not a good look, but great for shareholder value…in the short term at least until people realize what’s happening and stop buying. We should expect so much more, especially when craft distilleries operating for give or take a decade are already releasing bourbon that I consider to be just as good, if not better.
I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come from Booker’s, because it’s not promising.
Alex author
Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

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