By Father John Rayls
Knob Creek is produced in Clermont, Kentucky and is a Jim Beam/Suntory product. Of course, Suntory is the Japanese whisky giant who recently purchased Jim Beam. The seventh generation of Beam family members are now involved keeping the family values attached to their whiskey. Fred Noe Master Distiller, Booker Noe’s son and Jim Beam’s grandson, is leading the work. “It’s part science, part art and all pride. Every bottle we produce is a reflection of my family, so I know it has to be perfect”. This current iteration of Knob Creek is bottled at a stout 120 proof and has been aged for 9 years in the highest level charred barrels possible. As a member of Beam’s Knob Creek Bourbon selection, it is one of the four bourbons making up the distillery’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. These bourbons include Knob Creek, Booker’s, Basil Hayden’s and Bakers. I enjoy all of them immensely, but…spoiler alert…I love this bourbon!
The look of Knob Creek is very dark in the bottle, but even more so in the glass. It is a very beautiful coppery brown with glistening highlights as it diffuses the light passing through it. The legs are hard to describe. They are significant and substantial. The best I’ve ever seen in a glass. It almost appears to be part syrup that’s very drinkable. The nose is very present. However, it’s surprisingly missing any alcohol burn. The company describes the aromas as robust vanilla and slightly smokey caramel, but I would also add some light sweet corn. A country boy from Indiana recognizes sweet corn when he smells it.
Initially, there is a very pleasant thorough coating of the tongue and mouth. I would encourage you to hold it there for a few seconds before swallowing. All of the action takes place at mid-tongue and upper mid-mouth. There are multiple waves (explosions?) of complex flavors involving vanilla, nuts and oak. I appreciate it when a distillery describes their aromas and flavors exactly without hyperbole and Beam/Suntory nailed it! In addition, the nose of Knob Creek Single Barrel leads directly to the flavors. Nice job! The finish is long and spicy and filled with warm notes of cinnamon. The finish starts at mid-mouth and eventually migrates to the tip of the tongue.
I would strongly suggest that you rush out and buy a bottle of Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve. It is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. However, the best news may be the pricing. You can find this bourbon in the neighborhood of $45.00. I would suggest drinking it neat. Even though it’s bottled at 120 proof, this is a very smooth and pretty easy drinking bourbon. Fortunately, there’s plenty of room for cutting it with a little water or serving it over ice if you choose. Take your time and enjoy the journey.