The Little Book series is kind of amazing for what it is: It’s Jim Beam’s chance to kind of play around with some crazy ideas that don’t start with the word “Legent.” Most of Jim Beam products are, quite frankly, lacking in uniqueness. I know that they have some crazy age statements (Knob Creek Single Barrels), proofs (Booker’s and Knob Creek Cask Strength Ryes) and pedigrees (Booker’s Rye), but normally I do not think their products are too outside-the-box when it comes to overall bourbon flavor.
Enter the “Little Book” Series
But enter the “Little Book” series. So far 3 releases have came out and all have been unique. The first release (Chapter 1) combined all of the recognized whiskey mashbills with bourbon, rye whiskey, malt whiskey, and corn whiskey. The second release blended in a super-aged, 40-something year old Canadian rye whiskey into bourbon. And now this year’s Little Book release has combined multiple Jim Beam bourbon mashbills and ages together to form a sort of “super bourbon.”
I think we can all agree that Jim Beam still makes some great bourbon that is always readily available in multiple forms. But the one form we haven’t seen yet as a consumer is a cask-strength, older release of their high-rye mashbill bourbon like the one that the Old Grand Dad and Basil Hayden’s Series uses. This doesn’t completely satisfy our craving, but they blend some of it in here to make it interesting. So how does Little Book Chapter 3 taste? Let’s dive in! I sampled this neat and in a glencairn.
Nose: Melted Snicker’s candy bar and peanut butter cookies dominate the nose. Although I’m mentioning two things that are very peanut-forward, the peanut is never overpowering to the point where it distracts you. Rather, it’s just a layer in a very rich and rewarding nose. There’s also a nice layer of vanilla cupcakes and toffee. I also find a bit of charred oak in the background.
Palate: Well controlled heat allows me to find all of the sweet scents that the nose had, only on my tongue. There’s rich caramel, a nutty undertone and some cinnamon-spiced honey. There’s also a nice amount of oak, black pepper and tobacco as well as the occasional oranges rind and cherry fruit flavors.
Finish: I like the initial rush of rye flavors, old oak and brulee’ed sugars that are left on the tongue. They give a nice spice and a pleasant bitter bite with just enough sweetness to not make your tongue want to scrape it off on your teeth. There’s cinnamon, peppermint and some anise that float around. Beam’s high-rye mashbill is surely the cause of those traits shining through. I also find a bit of lemon rind and menthol cooling that only add to the list of traits on this finish.
Little Book impressed me with it’s rich and rewarding nose that’s typical of most Booker’s batches out there. But then the higher rye content starts to shine as the drink went on, culminating in a spicy finish that was way more interesting than they typical profile of “dessert in a bottle.” It was delicious, rich and rewarding all at the same time. I also recently told a friend that I found Little Book Chapter 3 to be a better bottle, in terms of my own tastes, than Booker’s 30th Anniversary. Since then, I’ve shared that a few more times, but do get a significant amount of nods from the people that appreciate more rye-forward bourbons and have had a chance to try both.
In the end, Little Book Chapter 3 is a terrific success and wow’ed me with what it was. I’m a man who enjoys the more unique bourbon’s out there and Little Book was definitely for me.
1 | Disgusting | Drain pour (Example: Jeffers Creek)
2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it
3 | Bad | Flawed (AD Laws 4 Grain BiB, Clyde Mays anything)
4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have (Tincup 10 year)
5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary (Larceny, Sazerac Rye)
6 | Very Good | Better than average (Buffalo Trace, OGD BiB)
7 | Great | Well above average (Old Ezra Barrel Proof, Old Weller Antique)
8 | Excellent | Exceptional (Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, Four Roses Barrel Strength)
9 | Incredible | Extraordinary (GTS, 13 Year MGP or Canadian Rye)
10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close (William Larue Weller)
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