Knob Creek bourbon has, for some time, been a popular American whiskey in the Jim Beam stable. One important consideration of it for many was the age statement, which was set at 9 years. It was decided, back in 2016, to do away with the age statement because of concerns over bourbon inventory. This decision, in 2019, was reversed, with word of plans for the return of the 9 year plus also “some limited releases of older age-stated Knob.”
Jump forward to now, and we have the 9 year specific Knob Creek recently returned, joined as well by 12 and 15 year old bourbons. All have the age statement proudly displayed on their respective front labels.
First, with regards to the 9 year, it is noted by the brand that “when Sixth Generation Beam Master Distiller Booker Noe fathered the Small Batch movement more than 25 years ago, he created Knob Creek to reflect the flavor, strength, care and patience that defined pre-prohibition whiskey. It’s a philosophy that has made Knob Creek one of the top selling Super-Premium bourbons in the world.
“Knob Creek Bourbon is patiently aged for nine years in charred, American, white oak barrels and bottled at an honest 100 proof. The result is an undeniably big, full flavor that strikes your palate with layers of flavor and a smooth finish. It’s is rich and hearty – the way true bourbon ought to be – offering a damn great bourbon one sip at a time.”
The Knob Creek 9 Year Old Bourbon, bottled at 100 proof, is pricing around $35 per 750 ml bottle. It is a permanent core offering, available nationwide. Official limited tasting notes suggest the following:
- Color: Deep, dark amber
- Aroma: Notes of maple sugar, toasted nuts, and oak
- Taste:Big notes of oak, caramel and fruit
- Finish: Long and smooth, with a kick
Moving a little further upwards in age, we next have up the Knob Creek 12 Year Old Bourbon. Originally released as a limited time offering in 2019, it is now a permanent addition to the Knob Creek portfolio. The brand noted for this one that “these barrels were primarily located in the center cut of Knob Creek rackhouses, ensuring the most consistent environment for the bourbon to patiently age in charred, American white oak casks for 12 long years before being bottled at 100 proof.
“The extra time in the rackhouses allows this bourbon to undergo changes that younger whiskies never experience, concentrating the flavors of oak, caramel and vanilla year after year. The result is a balanced whiskey cured of any and all harshness of flavor while still maintaining the unmistakable full flavor of Knob Creek. Its flavor is rich and hearty – the way true bourbon ought to be – offering a damn great bourbon one sip at a time.”
Plans call for the 12 year old, bottled at 100 proof, to be available nationwide for around $60 per 750 ml bottle. Official limited tasting notes for it suggest the following:
- Color: Dark amber with a touch of red
- Aroma: Heavy toffee with charred undertones, matured tobacco, toasted coconut and dark chocolate
- Taste: Bold and spicy overtones, leathered fruits, vanilla and caramelized wood
- Finish: Warm smoky char notes remain with lingering heat
And last, but certainly not least, is the arrival of a limited edition Knob Creek 15 Year Old Bourbon. The most mature age statement Knob Creek to date, the brand noted of it that “to deliver such an extraordinary product that is bottled at 100 proof, barrels were pulled from prime locations within Knob Creek’s Kentucky warehouses that cater to advanced aging, which is essential to the decade and a half maturation process.
“This extended journey over fifteen years allows for the bourbon to mature in such a way that truly highlights the flavors of smooth caramel and toffee, perfectly paired with toasted oak and light leather, all while maintaining the unmistakable full flavor of Knob Creek. Its flavor is rich and hearty, reflecting the true maturity of the liquid, that can only come with age.”
Release plans for this 15 year old, bottled at 100 proof, indicate a nationwide rollout for around $100 per 750 ml bottle. Official tasting notes for it are below:
- Color: Rich gold and bronze
- Aroma: Strong caramelized oak followed by hints of sweet vanilla, ripened fruit and baking spices
- Taste: Smooth caramel and toffee paired with toasted oak and light leather
- Finish: Warming spices with a touch of floral and cherry
That Beam-Suntory has gone this route with the embracing of three separate age statement releases suggest they are listening to fans, and likely the influence of the Noe family of Beam distillers, in making the decision to do this. For lovers of Knob Creek, it should be a fun summer of hunting these down and comparing them side by side to truly see what a few years apart age wise can make with these bourbons.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...