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Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve (Green's Beverage) Review

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve (Green's Beverage) Review

Background

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is a 9 year old, single barrel, 120 proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The Knob Creek brand of whiskies is comprised of 4 expressions:

  • Knob Creek Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 100 proof, 9 years old
  • Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve, 120 proof, 9 years old
  • Knob Creek Small Batch Straight Rye Whiskey, 100 proof, NAS
  • Knob Creek Small Batch Smoked Maple Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 90 proof, NAS

This lineup grew from the Knob Creek Small Batch (100 proof) which was initially released in 1992 as part of the Jim Beam small batch collection. Other members of the small batch collection include Booker's, Baker's, and Basil Hayden's. Eighteen years would pass before the KCSBR would be released followed by the Rye and Smoked Maple respectively. 

Like many other distilleries Jim Beam offers a private barrel program which allows retailers or whiskey groups to choose their own barrel of KCSBR. Private barrel pick bottles will display the stores name on the front below the neck and even sometimes additional barrel information on the back. Some store picks are even older than 9 years! The bottle that I chose for this review is a private barrel pick from Green's Beverage Warehouse. So why does the bottle in the pictures lack the private barrel designation? GBW was slack when it came to providing their logo to Jim Beam and missed their time window. They were also unable to locate any specific barrel information which is a bummer because I'm a sucker for details. Don't believe me? Check out the conversation I had with them on Twitter. Onto the tasting notes.

Details

Cost: $42 at Greens Beverage Warehouse in Myrtle Beach, SC. The typical price range for this bourbon is $35-$45. 

Distillery: Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky

Proof: 120

Age: 9 years

Mashbill: 75% Corn / 15% Rye / 10% Barley 

Barrel: Private Barrel for Green's Beverage Warehouse

Tasting Notes

Pour: 2 oz neat in a Canadian Glencairn

Nose: Big blast of cola up front - like a suicide blend of Dr. Pepper, Cherry Coke and regular Coke. Caramel, dark chocolate, and Whoppers candy (milk chocolate malted balls) fold into the cola along with a healthy dose of baking spices. The faintest hint of peanut brittle shows up before disappearing. 

Palate: Medium viscosity. The cola theme continues with more Cherry coke. Cinnamon, salted caramel, and brown sugar round this out like a delicious candy bar concoction. 

Finish: Medium length punctuated by dark brown sugar, coarse ground black pepper, and cinnamon. The fade is really nice and is accompanied by a lingering warmth. 

Score: 3/5

Thoughts

There is much discussion as to which Beam small batch bourbon is better, Bookers or KCSBR. Personally, I prefer Booker's and all of its molten peanut butter glory. However, for those of you who don't like the Beam peanut butter funk KCSBR is a fantastic bourbon. The nose on this bourbon is fantastic and the finish is just the right length. Cola, candy, and spice in all the right places for the right price. These days you can't beat an age stated, single barrel, 120 proof bourbon for under $40. Be on the lookout for private barrel picks of KCSBR - some supposedly surpass the standard offering. Cheers.

Recommended: Booker's, Blanton's Straight From The Barrel, Four Roses Single Barrel (100 proof), Four Roses Single Barrel (Barrel Strength), Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Stagg Jr.

- Mark Millonzi @ Entry Proof

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