The weather in St. Louis this past week has been pretty crappy. Lot’s of ice and snow. Based on what I’ve heard about Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve, I decided it might just be the perfect bourbon to review for the site, and to fend of the cold Winter winds.
Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is the single barrel version of Beam’s Knob Creek bourbon, one of four Bourbons that make up Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. (Basil Hayden’s, Baker’s and Booker’s round out the Small Batch Collection.)
Here’s what the Knob Creek website has to say about their single barrel version:
Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve encounters no detours or distractions. It’s just the big, pure flavor that Booker Noe set out to create over two decades ago.
Most bourbon is blended together from multiple barrels to create a consistent taste. However, each barrel of Single Barrel Reserve is bottled individually to become one-of-a-kind. Each batch we handpick will have slight variations in taste, color and aroma based on its final age, rack placement and other proprietary methods passed down for eight generations.
Best yet, it’s bottled at a 120 proof, so it’s an even bigger expression of our signature flavor. You’ll find more pronounced flavors and a smokier aroma. And although it packs a high proof, the finish is still smooth and complex.
I had the opportunity on last year’s Bourbon & Banter Pilgrimage to taste Knob Creek right out of the barrel while they were dumping it at the distillery. It was absolutely amazing. I reached right out and put my hand in the stream of bourbon as it was poured out by our tour guide. In fact, the photo at the top of this post was taken right before I stuck my hand in the bourbon stream for a taste.
So how did it compare to what they’ve put in the bottle? Let’s jump right in and explore the findings of my Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve bourbon review.
Age: 9 years
How I Drank It: Neat, in my special bourbon glass (please don’t be jealous)
My Nose Noticed:* Cinnamon | Maple | Fruit | Leather (hint of)
First Sip: Mint | Clove | Black Pepper | Vanilla/Maple (hint of)
The Burn:** Wow! This one is full of flavor and won’t disappoint your tastebuds. Each sip is a burst of flavor followed by a long finish with a nice deep throat/chest burn. In fact, the burn keeps coming back again, and again. I love that!
Neat, Splash or Rocks: This is a big bourbon at 120 proof but it’s not overpowering like so many other high proof bourbons. The flavors are so rich and deep that I suggest drinking it neat if you can. I added some water, but I found that it diluted the vanilla and maple notes too much. I think adding water to this one should be avoided at all costs.
Share With: This is a bourbon that you drink when you’re hanging with good friends. It’s robust enough to handle even the most intense banter. I’d also suggest taking it up to the cabin in the woods when you’re looking to get away from it all.
Worth The Price: At roughly $40, Knob Cree Single Barrel Reserve is only about $10 more than regular Knob Creek. In my opinion, it’s probably one of the best $10 investments you can make. I also think it’s a great buy on it’s when you compare it with other bourbons in the $40 range.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: If you’re a fan of robust bourbons that deliver an amazing burn, this is one for your home bar. It might not be an every night sipper, but it’s definitely one to have when friends come over or you’re trying to get over an especially hard day at the office.
*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.
**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?
Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve bourbon is a wonderfully rich and robust bourbon that should be on the shelf of any serious bourbon lover. Whether you pour yourself a glass to ward off Winter’s chill or to enjoy banter with your friends, you won’t be disappointed.