The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2017

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december 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  97 Little Book Blended Straight Whiskey, as it is officially called, will be a limited annual release and will feature a unique blend each year. For this inaugural bottling, Little Book "The Easy" is a blend of four-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon, 13-year-old corn whiskey, and six-year-old rye and malt whiskies. Bottled uncut and unfiltered in true Booker style, and in a bottle reminiscent of Booker's itself, the 128-proof whiskey is surprisingly smooth-sipping and full of sweet cherry- soaked oak, with fruit and citrus undertones and a trace of smoke in the finish. "I'm so proud to be a part of the long Beam legacy, and I've always admired my dad and granddaddy for their contributions to the whiskey industry over the years," says Freddie. "I've had the chance to work alongside Dad from time to time. I was too young to work along- side Granddaddy, but one of my favorite memories from when I was a kid was getting to sit down with him and my dad when they'd taste. They'd taste all the differ- ent whiskies and bourbons they were working on, and they'd let me smell them while I listened. Granddaddy always told me I had a 'good sniffer.'" That "sniffer" would come in handy a few years later when Freddie entered the family business, although he's quick to point out he didn't take his first drink until he turned 21. He still remembers the moment well. "It was Jim Beam White Label, on the Friday after my 21st birthday," he recalls. "My birthday in September is always during the Bourbon Festival, so it was at the 'bourbonque' at the house. Dad was giving a tasting, and of course I was listening to how to properly taste from him." There is indeed a special way the Noes taste their whiskey, as recounted many times to a captivated audience by Freddie's father, Fred, during bourbon seminars. "You look at the color and the aroma, then taste it with a good ol' 'Kentucky chew,'" Fred says. "The big thing is to work it all around the areas of your mouth, because each area picks up a different flavor." It wasn't long after that first taste that Freddie began working at the distillery in 2013. He started from the ground up, and "since that time, I've held just about every distillery job there is," he says. Most recently, 30-year-old Freddie rose to the position of Jim Beam's Fermentation Manager, overseeing the production, quality control, and consistency of the distillery's yeast. "The yeast is the lifeblood of our bourbon," says Freddie. "It turns the sugar in our mash into alcohol. We've been using the same yeast strain for years so it's important that we get it right. It's so important that my great-great- grandfather, Jim Beam, used to bring some of it home on the weekends just in case the distillery burned down." That's just one of the many legendary Jim Beam stories that abound, and Little Book can now carve its own place in the family lore. "I really wanted to create something that no one had ever tasted before," says Freddie. "That's why I love blending—it's like an open canvas, and the taste profiles that can be created are limitless. I actually made more than 25 blends of the final liquid for Little Book 'The Easy' before I decided it was just right. I guess you could say I'm a bit of a perfectionist." In that respect, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Frederick "Freddie" Booker Noe IV (right), great-great-grandson of Jim Beam and son of Beam's Master Distiller Fred Noe (left), is releasing Little Book Blended Straight Whiskey—his first product release. PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM BEAM LITTLE BOOK™ BLENDED STRAIGHT WHISKEY, 64.1% ALC./VOL. ©2017 JAMES B. BEAM DISTILLING CO., CLERMONT, KY.

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