Booker’s — bourbon’s version of an uncut and unfiltered joyride down the gullet — is introducing “Kathleen’s Batch.”
This special release, part of Booker’s Batch 2018-01, is a tribute to Kathleen DiBenedetto who, together with founding distiller Booker Noe, helped launch Beam’s super-premium Small Batch Bourbon Collection in the early 1990s, a Beam Suntory news release says.
DiBenedetto worked alongside Booker Noe as brand manager of the Small Batch Bourbon Collection, including Knob Creek Bourbon, Basil Hayden's Bourbon, Baker's Bourbon and Noe’s own namesake Booker's Bourbon.
“Alongside Booker, Kathleen played a large role in paving the way for how super-premium bourbons are appreciated today,” the release says. “She has made a huge impact not only on beams premium bourbons, but to the industry as a whole, and in 2015 was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in recognition of these contributions.”
She still works for Beam Suntory, serving as senior director, On-Premise and Luxury Marketing.
The latest batch, at its natural proof of 127.4, was aged six years, three months and 14 days and offers notes of caramel, honey and the characteristic, sweet yet spicy finish. It’s now available nationwide in limited quantities.
“I’m thrilled to honor Kathleen as someone who has poured her heart and soul into our brands for more than 25 years, especially our super-premium bourbons,” said Fred Noe. “She is probably too young to be called a pioneer, but that’s exactly what she was back in the ‘90s. Kathleen is like the daughter dad never had, and I know he’d be proud to name a batch of his namesake Booker’s Bourbon in her honor.”
Under Booker Noe, DiBenedetto learned nearly every job at the distillery so she could fully understand the ins and outs of crafting bourbon, the Beam way, says the release.
“Every night, Booker and Kathleen would sit at his kitchen table, where he would quiz her on what she had learned that day so she could speak to what made each bourbon brand so special.”
Kathleen’s Batch was selected by Fred Noe, Beam’s seventh-generation master distiller, DiBenedetto and the Booker’s Bourbon Roundtable, a group of whiskey experts, enthusiasts and writers, during an exclusive live tasting in New York City earlier this year.
“I’m humbled to have a batch of Booker’s named in my honor and to celebrate the many years that Booker and I worked together,” said DiBenedetto says. “He was my mentor and teacher — a challenging one at that — and over time, he became like family to me. Booker cared so deeply about his namesake brand, and I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to gather with the Booker’s Roundtable to select this special liquid and share a few of my favorite memories with them.”
As in previous years, the Booker’s 2018 Batch Collection will include four bourbon releases named in tribute to the people, places and pastimes that were important to Booker Noe. In addition to “Kathleen’s Batch,” this year’s collection will include Batch 2018-02 “Backyard BBQ;” Batch 2018-03, “Kentucky Chew;” and Batch 2018-04, “Kitchen Table,” in tribute to one of the most treasured family heirlooms of the Noe family.