Knob Creek Small Batch: 50% abv
Background: Knob Creek Small Batch bourbon is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch series (there is a connection there somewhere). It is produced at the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. This particular bourbon is a nine year old bourbon, so it is quite a bit older than some of your standard bourbons, which sit at four years. It is also the oldest of the Small Batch series, outpacing Booker’s, Basil Hayden, and Baker’s. If you go on Knob Creek’s website, you’ll find out there is an obnoxiously hard to read story on there about why Knob Creek is what it is, but we’ll omit that. There is also a Knob Creek Single Barrel and a Knob Creek Rye now being produced.
Nose: Burns, strong, alcohol type nose, very hot, oak, vanilla, wheat, spice, light rye, some honey, sweetness
A/W: Much more sweetness, sugar, sweet caramel
Arrival: Hot, spicy, cinnamon, dry, grainy, spicy, plenty of oak character
A/W: Almonds, sugar
Body: Still hot and spicy, lots of grain
A/W: Almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread, oak, maple
Finish: Again, hot and spicy, dry, wheat, nutmeg, Big Red cinnamon flavor, peppermint, nut oils
A/W: Barley, sugar, gingerbread
Final Comments: This is obviously a hot and spicy bourbon, with tons of intensity to it. We have plenty of experience drinking spirits above 50%, and Booker’s is a great example of how that can be done right. If you look at Knob Creek, it is a little different. The heat here is overdone, and doesn’t balance well with the flavor content. Not to mention the fact that the water is necessary to make this one speak out a little. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it could be a little better.
Why you’d buy it: You want an intense, slightly older than average bourbon with some nutty qualities to it, but aren’t particularly concerned about getting the most complex spirit.
Why you wouldn’t: Maker’s 46 exists