Don’t fret if you’ve never heard of Baker’s Bourbon. It’s the least popular offering in Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection, which also includes Booker’s Bourbon, Basil Hayden’s and Knob Creek.
First reported over the summer by longtime bourbon writer Chuck Cowdery, the new Baker’s single barrel product is rolling out to liquor stores nationwide now. The change marks the first exclusively single barrel offering in the Small Batch lineup and the second single barrel product overall (Knob Creek has both single barrel reserve and select offerings). It will retain its 7-year age statement and 107 proofing, but will sell at a slightly pricier $60 SRP (was previously low-$50s) and comes in new packaging.
Baker’s Bourbon is named after Baker Beam, grand-nephew of Jim Beam and cousin of Booker’s Bourbon namesake Booker Noe. The bottle has occupied a peculiar place on shelves in past years — its proof is high, but not that high, and though it has managed to keep its age statement, seven years isn’t wildly impressive. For less money, you can get both older whiskey (Eagle Rare, Henry McKenna Bottled-in-Bond) and higher proof whiskey (Knob Creek Single Barrel, Old Ezra 7-Year, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Old Grand-Dad 114), while a few extra dollars opens the door to some exceptional bourbons (Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Old Forester 1920). The change to a single barrel format makes a competitor out of it.
Announced in tandem with the rollout of the Baker’s Single Barrel, Baker’s 13-Year-Old is a limited run of the same bourbon with six additional years of maturation under its belt. The one-time bottling of the 13-year is rolling out with new Baker’s and will retail at $100. Both bottles will be available in all markets Jim Beam products are found.
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