Knob Creek Small Batch Background
Knob Creek Small Batch is named after the river that flows through Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home in Kentucky. It entered the market in 1992 as a small batch Bourbon as the Bourbon industry started to regain its footing after Prohibition. Distiller Booker Noe set out to create a Bourbon that resembled pre-prohibition bottling with a higher proof and more age than most bottles then on the shelves. Knob Creek Small Batch is bottled at 100-proof and aged 9 years.
There are two Knob Creek Bourbons with the 100-proof small batch reviewed here and 120-proof Knob Creek Single Barrel. Last year a flavored Smoke Maple Bourbon that has maple syrup and smoke infused with regular Knob Creek. Lastly there’s a Knob Creek Rye in the brand lineup.
Aged 9 years. Bottled at 50%. Mash bill of 73% corn, 13% rye, and 10% barley. Paid $36 (Michigan state minimum price)
Oak, Caramel, Vanilla. Buttery. Orange juice, citrus. Biscuit, bready. A little rye mint. Maybe some corn in there too.
Oak. Light maple syrup. Caramel and sweetness that moves quickly to charred wood and alcohol heat. Hot cinnamon spice. Some bitterness and dry astringency in the finish.
Some bold flavors here. Wood dominates this one with some assertive oak and astringency. Also, seems a little hot and I prefer to water this down a bit. The flavors stand up well to water and dials down the wood a bit. Sweetness gets swept up in the oak and alcohol quickly, although lingers with some water. The sip finishes with a not entirely pleasant bitterness and dry tannic aftertaste. Beam has a particular flavor with their yeast profile. Once you hone in on it, you may like it or hate it. I don’t think it’s too prominent in the Knob Creek Small Batch due to the assertive flavors, but it’s still there in the after taste.
Adding this up, Knob Creek Small Batch claims to be a bold throwback to pre-prohibition. I can’t speak to that, but this pour has a lot of flavor in what I could imagine old school Bourbon to be like. I think the nuanced parts seem to yield to the dominate players, however. This Bourbon could probability stand up well as a mixer.
Price isn’t too bad. Knob Creek Small Batch seems to be widely available and I could see this bottle being among the better options in a bar not known for their whiskey. If you like bigger bolder Bourbons with more wood profile, you’ll probably enjoy this one, especially at this price point.
Knob Creek Small Batch Recommendation
Buy a Bottle – 3/5 Rating
(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)
Buying Options and Further Research
If you’re interested in Knob Creek Small Batch, I’ll toss out some similar Bourbons to research. I call this a standard rye Bourbon and it’s a crowded field. Price wise and it’s similar to Woodford Reserve. For the wood profile, Elijah Craig 12 might be an interesting cheaper alliterative. Otherwise in the price range and rye profile Elmer T Lee, Russell Reserve, and Bowman Brothers are some more options. If you’re curious to explore the Beam flavor profile for less money, you could check out Jim Beam Black.