photo credit: KnobCreek.com
KNOB CREEK BOURBON
Age: 9 year Old
Distillery: Knob Creek Distillery (Jim Beam), Clermont Kentucky
Master Distiller: Fred Noe
Season: Late Summer
This is another bourbon that shouldn’t need an introduction, but because new bourbonites tend to reach for what are perceived to be more ‘fashionable’ brands, Knob Creek might get overlooked. For some, Knob Creek is one of those that ‘just gets the job done’.
Knob Creek is the brainchild of one of my favorite bourbon personalities – Booker Noe – and rounds out the Jim Beam Small Batch bourbon collection (the other brands are Bakers, Booker’s, and Basil Hayden). Like its brand colleagues, Knob Creek has a traditional high-corn mash bill with 15% rye (the same as Jim Beam).
The label is inspired by the decades-old custom of wrapping finished bottles in newspaper at the distillery. Ours was wrapped in a newspaper from October 23, 1935. Not sure if this is standard or if the dates change. If you have a bottle in reach, let me know in the comments section!
KNOB CREEK BOURBON TASTING NOTES
When Booker Noe crafted this bourbon, he wanted it to be reminiscent of the ‘old days’ of bourbon production – that is pre-Prohibition bourbon, before mass production was implemented.
The nose is all old wood, maple and honeycomb. When I taste bourbons for the first time, I start out with just a splash in the glass leaves behind more identifiable notes when it evaporates. New wood persists with hints of chocolate
The first sip of Knob Creek starts out with a clean, citrus, mouth-watering zest. Although it is 100 proof, it carries itself like a lower proof bourbon. Could just be because I have punished my palate with stupid-high proofs over the years. It opens up with mint, lemon peel – transforming the wood flavors that you would typically find in well aged bourbons into a cedar-like flavor. This would be a good bourbon to start a meal off with.
In the middle of the tasting, new wood flavors appear – a probable effect of the bright, clean, early fruit flavors. Knob Creek finishes with flavors of bright under ripe fruit (lemon, lime, green apple).
Knob Creek has a medium body, and if there were two overall elements that persist throughout the tasting, they would be sweetness and spice.
But despite all the descriptors above, Knob Creek is notably muted. The flavors are hard to pick up in both the nose and on the palate.
I know some of you will disagree with this assessment, so leave your own tasting notes below. But at a typical cost of $37 a fifth, I can think of better labels to keep on the shelf. If you haven’t done so already, try a pour at your favorite bar and let us know what you think!
Knob Creek is a decent sipping bourbon, and can be a decent mixer as well. But for my taste, Knob Creek lacks the forward flavor that bourbons are typically known for carrying. For these reasons, I give Knob Creek a C+.