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Eighth-generation Jim Beam master distiller Freddie Noe’s Little Book Whiskey has returned for its seventh release, and this masterful blend literally wouldn’t be here without its six predecessors. The whiskey is called “In Retrospect,” and it’s a blend of components of all six of the past releases as well as one additional whiskey that you haven’t seen from Beam before.
Freddie Noe is the son of renowned Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe and the grandson of the legendary Booker Noe, so he had a lot to live up to when he joined the team at the James B. Beam Distilling Company in 2013. But he’s found different ways to make his mark on the brand since then, the most prominent example being his Little Book Whiskey, a tribute to his grandfather who created the popular Booker’s Bourbon. Each chapter is a blend of different whiskeys, ranging from bourbon to rye to single malt to Canadian to finished whiskeys. Chapter 7: In Retrospect combines one liquid stream from each of the previous releases, much of which is now older because it’s been allowed to continue to mature in barrels.
The makeup of the Chapter 7 blend is as follows: 18-, 17-, nine-, and four-year-old bourbon, 10-year-old rye, and five-year-old straight malt whiskey finished in applewood smoked barrels. The 18-year-old bourbon was originally in Chapter 5 as a 15-year-old, the ten-year-old rye was in Chapter 2 as a six-year-old, and the malt whiskey was included in the last release, to give a few examples of how these whiskeys were previously used. The seventh component is one that was not used before—a four-year-old rye that Noe describes as being influenced by the rye whiskey historically produced in Pennsylvania, with a mashbill of 80 percent rye and 20 percent malted rye. I got to try this on its own, and it’s a bright and floral whiskey with notes of citrus and grass, very much unlike most Beam whiskeys I’ve sampled before.
Little Book Chapter 7 delivers in flavor, with that signature Beam corn and grain note on nose leading the way as you taste. Citrus, grass, and fruit flavors come through next on the palate, along with some orange marmalade, brown sugar, and even fresh cantaloupe, an unexpected but welcome tasting note. The whiskey is bottled at cask strength, as are all the Little Books, this time coming in at an assertive but not aggressive 118.1. “This retrospective chapter was a great opportunity to involve my new team in the journey and spirit of Little Book,” said Noe in a statement. “Everyone brought their ideas to the table and thought about how we can create the highest potential from this unique catalog of whiskies we’ve utilized over the years. I’m really proud of the final outcome and excited to help expand folks’ whiskey journey with this release.”
Little Book Chapter 7 is available now in limited quantities with an SRP of $150, and you can currently find it online from websites like Total Wine pretty close to that. You can still find previous releases from websites like Wine.com, albeit for higher prices, if you’re looking to complete your collection.