Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Whiskey Review: Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 95/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on September 17, 2013
Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Knob Creek, Booker’s, Baker’s and the previously reviewed, Basil Hayden’s. The whiskey collection is considered by Jim Beam Distillers to be a selection of ‘ultra-premium’ bourbon whiskeys created to establish a high-end category for bourbon, and thus to appeal to the serious whiskey aficionado. Knob Creek is the oldest of these small batch whiskeys, and is aged a full nine years in newly charred oak barrels, then bottled at 100 proof or 50 % alcohol by volume. The whiskey brand is owned by Beam Global and is produced at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky.
In the Bottle 5/5
Knob Creek arrives in the rectangular bottle shown to the left. I like everything about this bottle presentation. The small rectangular bottle has a funky old school look; the label (which you customize on the Knob Creek Website) is original and eye-catching; and of course the wax sealed cork at the top is a great touch.
In the Glass 9.5/10
When I pour an ounce of Knob Creek into my glencairn glass, I see the whiskey has a rich bronze colour. When I twirl and tilt that glass, I see nice medium-sized legs dribbling down back into the whiskey. The initial aroma is deep and rich with smells of freshly hewn oak timbers dripping with sap. I also sense loads of honeycomb, barbequed corn on the cob, baking spices (vanilla and cinnamon), brown sugar, and fresh maple toffee. As I take my time with the glass, indications of chocolate caramel and cola rise in the breezes along with rich pipe tobacco and crushed walnut shells. I could sit with my glass (just sniffing the breezes above it) and remain content.
In the Mouth 57/60
Knob Creek is a full flavoured whiskey which features the heat of its full 100 proof and the richness of fresh oak barrel aging. As you can imagine, the whiskey carries this spicy heat throughout the delivery pushing forward flavours of spicy wood sap which bring to my mind images of black pepper, cloves and cinnamon. As spicy as this is, there is also plenty of brown sugary sweetness pushed forward which gives the bourbon a rum-like feel with flavours of Demerara sugar, punchy caramel, and sticky orange marmalade which provides a strong counterbalance to the spicy heat and alcohol push of the whiskey. I taste obvious vanilla flavours washing through the whiskey as well tasty baking spices (nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves), hints of chocolate and baked walnuts. The whiskey tastes as delicious as those descriptors imply.
In the Throat 14/15
The finish is both sweet and spicy with maple toffee and spicy wood sap doing a bit of a tango down the throat. The tonsils are left glowing with the residue of wood spice and cinnamon, and the palate is left with lingering flavours of baking spices, vanilla, caramel and chocolate. A touch of bitterness right at the very end seems to compliment the lingering sweetness.
The Afterburn 9.5/10
Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is simply a wonderful bourbon whiskey. It carries a full flavour which features a balance between the sweet brown sugars flavours and the spicy wood sap which is just about perfect. And even though the whiskey carries a lot of the spice and heat, it is very easy to sip and enjoy with or without ice.
You may read some of my other Whiskey Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)