Exclusive Review: Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon
Next January (yes, 2011), the iconic Knob Creek will be releasing a new whiskey, expanding a line that, like Maker’s Mark before it, has resolutely stuck to one single product for all its life — 20 long years.
That product is Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve — a single barrel, higher-proof version of its incredibly popular big brother.
And we got to try it early to tell you what we think.
Color us fans.
At 120 proof, this new Knob Creek is scorching hot, and too impossibly strong to drink without cutting it down. It needs water, and more than a splash.
Once down to sipping strength, this bourbon’s charms are readily apparent. Standard Knob Creek is complex but on the sweet side, its oak balanced by vanilla and a gently sugary texture. Knob Creek Single Barrel is bigger and burlier — evident even after it is brought down to an appropriate proof.
The vanilla core is still there (and the bourbon, we should add, is still 9 years old), but the most noteworthy addition is considerably more wood character — which is the same trick Maker’s pulled with Maker’s 46 — but Knob Creek Single Barrel also has an intriguing finish that its standard-edition predecessor lacks. Candy-like but aromatic, it’s toffee and incense, leather and rosemary. Very intriguing, and it grows more apparent as you drink more of it.
Next to standard Knob Creek at $26, Single Barrel is hardly decadent at a paltry $40. Try some when it arrives in four short months and let us know what you think!
Will update this post with a picture of the bottle when a photo becomes available.