I have drank more Bookers in my life than any other bourbon and Little Book 5 makes no god damn sense to me. The label states that this $160 ($125 MSRP) bourbon was aged for two years. The liner notes indicate it is a blend of 2, 3, 5 and… FIFTEEN year old whiskey. So Jim Beam is just blending gas station white label Beam with anniversary Knob Creek. Beam is making bourbon the way that Chrysler made K cars in the 1980s, just hitting the parts bin and throwing things together.
Unlike Teen Mom, saddling a 15 year old with a 2 year old has some fascinating implications here.
“The Invitation” is 116.8 proof and looks like you took the Martinellis pale white lightning and stepped on it with that deep sun tea of the teenage stocks. Trying to reconcile the two is like having an annoying friend who “double texts” for emphasis. It enters with sweet corn flakes, banana taffy, then hard shifts to apple fritter, McDonalds baked pie, semianiline leather. These two profiles just battle it out like some negligent Kentucky Day Care.
The aged aspects have the loving notes of B25/B30 for a fleeting moment. If you have the misfortune of knowing someone who posts about “SONDER” and being the main character, you know the illusion of depth that falls apart upon the slightest examination. That person was listening to David Guetta just a few years ago.
The young aspects are whimsical and taste like mature Basil Haydens coupled with a guy who knows exactly how much Sudafed you’re allowed to buy at Walgreens. It is refined but trashy. Swallow is long and provides pepper, baking spices, way more approachable than regular Bookers, but more nuanced than Bakers.
The sum is something that feels elegant or thoughtful but comes across more like a white person doing Ukele covers of hip hop songs. Why am I not just enjoying the real version of this? For $160 you can just drink the 15 year stocks, go get the 15 year knob creek or pay half as much and have 12 year knob creek.
Nothing in bourbon is about taste at this point. We will all be drinking Jim Beam white label store picks by 2026.