It would have been significant enough for Booker’s — a brand of the Jim Beam distillery that has specialized in bourbon, and only bourbon, since it was founded almost 30 years ago — to make its first rye. But for that rye to be named the best whisky in the world by Jim Murray, the most well-known critic of brown spirits, beating out all other rye, bourbon, Scotch and single malt producers at their own game? Well, that would be most remarkable.
Impressively, that’s exactly what happened after Booker’s released its “Big Time Batch” rye, a 13-year-old limited-edition bottle that Murray though showed “exactly what genius in terms of whiskey actually means.” The whiskey itself comes from some of the last barrels laid down by Booker Noe, who died in 2004. It’s uncut at 136 proof, and though it retailed for around $300 back in May, those same bottles are now worth upwards of $2,500. Yes, even big names like Jim Beam can still surprise whiskey lovers.
Age: 13 years, 1 month and 12 days
Tasting Notes: orange, ginger, burnt sugar