Small Batch Bourbon 600

Still looking for that last minute small little something that will achieve the perfect finish for your cocktail enthusiast, liquor aficionado…liquid guru?  I have come across the precise answer to what you are looking for: Small batch bourbon.

Small category.  Complete flavor distinction.

Small batch refers to handcrafted bourbon created for the true connoisseur who appreciates the art and science of flawless blending of premium ingredients to provide unique aromas and flavor characteristics to tempt the most discriminating of palates.  These ultra-premium, small batch bourbons are made in limited quantities, aged from six to nine years in new, charred American white oak barrels and each retain the characteristics of pre-Prohibition whiskey.  Better yet, these small batch bourbons are readily available nationwide at a range of pricing that is affordable.  Tempted?

Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, Bookers, Bakers

You have no doubt seen these bourbons on the shelf, but when mixed in with all the others it is difficult to distinguish one from another by anything other than bottle art alone.  Honestly I passed by them on the shelf many times without ever picking them up wondering what the flavor profiles might be and how they would compare.  However, one evening a friend offered to bring over some Bookers if I had some others to compare it to and the game was on.  After a quick trip to the liquor store we had a last minute tasting party going on at my house.

Knob Creek Bourbon

Big Bottle Knob Creek 800

Knob Creek is a liquor cabinet staple.  This is the working man’s friend as it is very affordable to consume without the need for special occasion.  At the end of the day, relax with this one.  Drink Knob Creek neat or on the rocks.  This one works great as the base of classic and contemporary cocktails.

Knob Creek’s Official Tasting Notes

Aroma: Toasted nuts, grain oak

Taste: Rich, sweet, woody, full-bodied, almost fruity, it strikes the senses with a maple sugar aroma, distinctive sweetness and rich, full-bodied flavor

Finish: Long, rich and glowing

“Knob Creek remains my favorite. I like its nutty, fruity nose and how a vanilla-orange-caramel sweetness balances the rye spice.” — The Kansas City Star, Anna Brockhoff, May 2007

Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

Basil Hayden's Fizz

Basil Hayden’s is the bridge between bourbon and American rye whiskey.  This bourbon will surprise and delight you as it is unlike bourbon you may be accustomed to.  Basil Hayden’s has spicy kick with hints of peppermint while remaining gentle in its bite.  Enjoy this one neat, on the rocks or in cocktails.  There is one cocktail in particular, the Basil Bubbly, that I will feature for New Year’s Eve cocktails coming soon.

Basil Hayden’s Official Tasting Notes

Aroma: Spice, tea, hint of peppermint

Taste: Spicy, peppery, honey, light-bodied, gentle bite, enriched by a hint of peppermint, it impresses with notes of pepper balanced by slight citrus overtones, and a spicy, warming finish

Finish: Dry, clean, brief

Booker’s Bourbon

What first

Booker’s was a favorite at the impromptu tasting.  Booker’s is one of the few uncut, unfiltered, straight from the barrel bourbons available on the market.  Since it is cask strength, there is need to cut it with spring water or ice (for some!).  This enables one to customize the flavor to one’s own palate.  The flavor of Booker’s is deeper and more intense than others in the small batch category, yet also seems to be in some ways an upgraded version of Basil Hayden’s although, Booker’s is its own bourbon and not a knock off of another.

Booker’s was originally created as a holiday gift for Booker Noe’s special holiday friends.  What an appropriate gift to give to your special spirit connoisseurs this holiday season.  Also, since it is uncut, full cask strength, Booker’s is an exceptional value.

Booker’s Official Tasting Notes

Proof: 121 to 127

Color: Deep, rich, smoky amber

Aroma: Big oak, vanilla, smoky charcoal

Taste: Intense, fruit, tannin, tobacco

Finish: Clean, long, intense

“The richest in this group is Booker’s. The oaky, smoky, unfiltered bourbon has complexity, intensity, depth and a long finish.” — Newsday, Peter M. Gianotti, May 2007

Bakers Bourbon

Bakers is the only one of the four small batch bourbons that did not make a showing at my little tasting party.  However this little gem makes a showing at where I was able to get additional information on all of these small batch bourbons my friends and I sampled.

Bakers sounds like my type of flavor with its mix of vanilla and caramel.  The distinguishing characteristic of Bakers is its utilization of a special strain of jug yeast that provides this small batch bourbon with its consistently silky smooth texture.  Bakers is best served in a snifter with a splash of spring water.

Bakers Official Tasting Notes

Color: Warm amber, tawny, nut brown

Aroma: Fruit, vanilla, caramel

Taste: Toasted nuts, fruit, vanilla, silky texture

Finish: Sweet, smooth, medium-long

“Baker’s has vanilla notes and a refined, silky style. The hue is nut-brown and the aroma has a caramel quality, a balanced, flavor-packed production.” — Newsday, Peter M. Gianotti, May 2007

Bourbon Cocktail Recipes

Tom Doughty’s Blitzen

co-owner of Fuel Restaurant in Kitsilano, Vancouver

1/2 ounce Starbuck’s Coffee Liqueur

1/2 ounce Starbucks Cream Liqueur

1 ounce Knob Creek Bourbon

1/2 ounce Espresso


Combine liquids in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with fresh shaved nutmeg over the top.

Brooklyn Cocktail

2 ounces Knob Creek Bourbon

1 ounce Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth

1/2 teaspoon Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

1/2 teaspoon Amaro Ciocciaro

Lemon Twist

Combine liquids in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin lemon twist over the top.

Clermont Smash

recipe by Tony Abou Ganim

1-1/2 ounce Knob Creek Bourbon

3/4 ounce Velvet Falernum

10-12 Spearmint Leaves

3 dashes Fee Brother’s Peach Bitters

1-1/2 ounce Fresh Lemon Sour

Pineapple Spear & Mint Sprig

Muddle mint and Falernum in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add remaining liquid ingredients with ice. Shake until all ingredients are well integrated. Strain into a large rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Stir with the ice until frost begins to form on the glass. Garnish with pineapple spear and mint sprig.

All content ©2014 Cheri Loughlin, The Intoxicologist. All Rights Reserved. Chat with Cheri @Intoxicologist on Twitter and or

Small Batch Bourbon Holiday Surprises