Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as a review sample by Jim Beam. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Additional reporting for this review was contributed by The Whiskey Wash editorial team.
Jim Beam’s Knob Creek whiskey brand recently announced the 2021 return of its limited-edition Knob Creek 15 Year Old.
Originally released in 2020, this liquid, it is said, seeks to elevate Booker Noe’s vision to recreate the fullest flavor characteristics of pre-prohibition style bourbon.
A prepared statement from Knob Creek said that to deliver this product bottled at 100 proof, barrels were pulled from prime locations within Knob Creek’s Kentucky warehouses that cater to advanced aging, essential to the decade and a half maturation process.
Knob Creek is produced at the Jim Beam distillery, which also produces Booker’s, Baker’s, and Basil Hayden’s along with the eponymous Jim Beam brand.
Knob Creek 15 year is the oldest in the Knob Creek line up. It wasn’t until 2016 that the distillery made anything other than a nine-year whiskey. For this review, we were lucky enough to have a full round up of Knob Creek releases leading up to the 15 year. We’re sure you’ll find one to love.
Editor’s Note: The five- and seven-year samples of Knob Creek received with this press sample are not available for purchase, and were included only with the intention of showcasing the maturation of the spirit leading up to older releases.
Tasting Notes: Knob Creek 15 Year
Appearance: Tawny in color.
Nose: The nose is sweet and pleasant, yet simple. It’s not hot. I get hints of dry hay, like a warm summer day.
Palate: I get all those classic bourbon flavors, with vanilla and burnt orange coming through the most. There’s also a bit of turpentine and a dry oak finish. It was a little warmer on the throat than in the front of the mouth.
In the box with the 15-year whiskey there were samples of the 5-, 7-, 9-, and 12-year whiskeys to compare. I made notes for each of those with the nose and palate. If the 15 is too much for you, maybe you can find another flavor profile you like a bit more.
Final Thoughts: The Knob Creek 15 year really warms up the whole palate. To me it was simple and smooth. It had a very classic bourbon nose and palate. I think this would make a great daily bourbon or a good one to share with friends.
Knob Creek 5 Year: The nose was a delicious blend of maple and alfalfa. The palate was very light and sweet. It was bitter on the first taste. The predominate flavors were burnt orange and cinnamon.
Knob Creek 7 Year: The nose was a bit sweeter with more spice and maple and less alfalfa. The palate had a bit more bite and came off stronger than the 5 year. It also had more of those bourbon flavors. Overall stronger.
Knob Creek 9 Year: This one changed it up a bit on the nose with more fruit. I detected peach and plum. It was sweeter with less alfalfa than the previous two. No spice. The palate was very smooth. It was fruit-forward, then moved on to more bourbon flavors and a more burnt flavor at the end. Overall it was light.
Knob Creek 12 Year: The nose was very faint, sweet, and fruity, mostly plum and a little turpentine. The palate was very citrus-forward. I also detected cinnamon and nutmeg. Overall it had a strong flavor.
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Melissa D. Jones is a traveler, blogger, photographer, storyteller, foodie, whiskey lover and creative entrepreneur. Living for adventure and new experiences she's photographed her way around all 50 states and 47 countries (still counting!) and wrote her travel knowledge into a book. When she's not traveling you can find her...