Few things in the bourbon world, or any world for that matter, surprise me anymore. When Maker’s Mark announced a proof reduction in their bourbon, their legions of fans went bat crap crazy and the company reversed course. The proof reduction didn’t bother me, however, since I don’t drink Maker’s much and I had some sympathy to their plight. Their plight is everyone’s plight, and has been for some years now: supply cannot keep up with demand. So, you have to improvise. One such consequence of this market truth is the vanishing of the coveted age statement. We all know this is an inevitability. It’s like a tidal wave surging towards your poor village and there is no way to escape. You just let it run over you and move on. Or not, in the case of the tidal wave, but you get what I mean. However, though I am jaded, that doesn’t mean that in the event a big change occurs to a brand you adore you don’t experience some heartbreak. Back in 2016, Beam Suntory announced that the 9 year old age statement would be removed from the label of Knob Creek Bourbon, one of my very favorite staples. I may have mourned a little, inside.
I told Argentina they need not cry too long for me, as Knob Creek Single Barrel would retain the 9 year aging but also would be bottled at a lovely 60% ABV. I guess that’s a good consolation. It’s not too expensive, but it’s not as available either, and I sure will miss going to Costco and picking up a bottle of standard Knob Creek for $25. But such is life. And then, lo, I beheld an article written by bourbon’s ballast, Chuck Cowdery, that Beam Suntory would be restoring standard Knob Creek’s age statement. Friends, I am afraid I will be unable to stress the rarity of such a reversal. This does not happen often, especially in the midst of the bourbon boom we find ourselves still in.
That being said, I grew to love and adore the Single Barrel expression, as I resigned myself to the reality that this was going to be the only Knob Creek bottled as I knew it before. Well, now I will have both. Today’s review will be on the Single Barrel, a 60% ABV version of the 9 year old liquid as well as a curated one as Single Barrels are not batched. On to the review….
Nose- Bourbony tobacco, and how. Thick and big. Customary vanilla and caramel wafting through. Nice, full oak. An interesting floral, grassy feel underneath.
Taste- Oak forward with grass, burnt sugar and clove. Leather and caramel.
Finish- Barrel char and toasted oak. Drying. Marshmallow. Sweet tobacco. Long.
Comment- Bourbon orthodoxy. Tobacco city. More than I usually find in a bourbon, though common. Nice work. Our Scotch lovers were not overtly impressed, but what do they know.
SWC Rating- 84/100