Burton James Rookie Season: Opener


Classification: American Whiskey

Company: B.H. James Distillers

Distillery: Sourced from MGP

Release Date: November 2022

Proof: 106.4

Age: Blend of 6.6, 6.9, 7.6, and 7.7-year-old whiskeys

Mashbill: Blend of four mashbills:

36.9% 7.6 Year Rye: 95% Rye, 5% Malted Barley

34.4% 7.7 Year Bourbon: 75% Corn, 21% Rye, 4% Malted Barley

27.4% 6.9 Year Bourbon: 60% Corn, 36% Rye, 4% Malted Barley

1.3% 6.6 Year Light Whiskey: 99% Corn, 1% Malted Barley

Color: Honey

MSRP: $65 (2023)

Official Website


Caramel | Buttered cornbread | Honey | Light oak | Vanilla custard | Sweet


Honey | Creme brulee | Brown sugar | Rye spice | Touch of tobacco | Seasoned oak | Rich & sweet


Rye spice | Baking spices | Vanilla | Brown sugar | Long


Combining bourbon, rye, and light whiskey, Burton James’ inaugural whiskey, “Rookie Season: Opener” is a rich, full-flavored affair.

According to the company’s press release,.“B.H. James Distillers and Burton James Uniquely American are the names chosen by the owner, Shawn McCormick, as a tribute to the legacy of his great-grandfather, Burton Hulon James (well known as B. H. or Huse). James played professional baseball from 1908 – 1919 when he and his wife, Estelle, settled on her family farm in Adairville, KY.”

Each batch of Burton James Whiskey is made up of less than 10 barrels, and planned to be released 3 to 4 times per year. Rookie Season: Opener is the company’s first-ever whiskey release, and is a blend of a total of seven barrels, of which detailed information is provided by the company (via their website). McCormick acquired the barrels used for the blend quite some time ago, and set his sights specifically on an American Whiskey. Pulling together bourbon and rye is increasingly common, but adding light whiskey to the mix is less so. I was really impressed with O.K.I. Reserve Batch 1, which includes bourbon, rye, light whiskey, and even corn whiskey. Burton James Rookie Season: Opener pulls together different MGP whiskeys in a similar sense, with undertones of brown sugar, creme brulee, and light oak throughout. While light whiskey makes up only 1.3% of the blend, the quintessential sweetness it typically exhibits permeates throughout this whiskey. The sweet nose and palate are complemented by a wave of spice on the backend of the palate and into the finish, which reveals the whiskey’s proof. Overall, it’s a really interesting whiskey with an unusually high level of transparency, a fascinating backstory as tribute to McCormick’s great-grandfather, and has me excited for more from Burton James.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Nick Beiter

February 10, 2023
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