Jim Murray's (Whisky Bible) 2016 Whisky of the Year
Appearance: A dark, saturated auburn in the glass, Booker’s Rye certainly looks its 13+ years.
Nose: Although immediately spicy and grain-forward on the nose, the dram hardly seems as vaporous as its cask-strength of 136.2 proof made me believe it was going to be. Full, heavy burnt sugar elements rise to the top of the nose, backed by slight styrofoam notes.
After opening, orange marmalade and chocolate-covered malt marry for a rich, rye-heavy nose. Raisin bran and fresh, sweet hay round out the nose. Altogether, the nose proved sweet, spicy, and complex.
Palate: Spicy to start on the palate, as well as to finish—but pure velvet in the middle. Hot to start, with sweet rye cream on the way down, then a tingling, tannic finish. The incredible mouthfeel is matched only by the depth of the flavor present the entire tasting. Graham crackers with sea salt meld with creamy, almost sweet marscapone. The creamy mouthfeel and rich, salty elements of the dram combine to create a full snack-time experience: rye bread with Nutella and flakey sea salt, and a big ol’ glass of whole milk.
Tannic, spiced, and grain-forward on the finish, Booker’s Rye is without question an after dinner or bedtime dram. Decadent, creamy, and like a big bedtime hug from a pretzel.