I've always considered myself a whiskey man, ever since I hit the legal drinking age of 21 in the US. Actually I considered myself a whiskey man at the age of 18, when I enjoyed my very first whiskey and coke.
See I grew up thinking that that's how whiskey was drunk, always in coke or taking it as a shot. I knew no better. I drank pretty good whiskies, I remember at one point pouring Glenfiddich 21 year old in coke.
I know, oh the humanity!
This was my life for quite a few years, mixing whiskies, good and bad, into coke. And why might I do that if I considered myself a whiskey man, you may be asking yourself.
Because whiskey tasted like...well whiskey.
Alcohol tasted just like that, alcohol, burn. If it was good there might be a "smooth" in there, but that was the extent of my knowledge, of my palate.
And then one day the pain began, agonizing pain. My wisdom teeth were coming in, and even worse I couldn't afford a dentist. When I was informed I'd have to pay something along the lines of $600 to $800 a tooth, I went into shock. How the hell was I going to be able to pay that kind of bill, living on a very low wage, which left little money free at the end of the week.
Long and short of it, I couldn't. That wasn't an option.
So I drank. A lot. During the day while at work I used medicine that would do a half assed job of numbing your gums and mouth, but at night, every night for about a month, I drank.
I was actually drinking so much due to the pain that I was easily going through a couple of bottles of booze each week.
All of it mixed with coke. But thankfully the bottleshop was just down the street. Easy walking distance. And late one afternoon after work as I was walking home I stopped into the bottleshop for a resupply.
This time I picked up a new whiskey, a bourbon called Knob Creek. I knew nothing about this whiskey, but I figured what the hell it's $35 for a bottle, why not.
And so the night begins with me pouring the whiskey into coke, and as the night goes on the whiskey pours quickly account for more and more of the whiskey and coke, until it's more whiskey then coke.
And then something magical happens, the whiskey and coke changes, there's something else coming off my mixed drink. It's vanilla, lots and lots of vanilla, and some cherries.
My whiskey doesn't taste like whiskey! It tastes like something else, fruit and spices and vanilla and all sorts of things that don't belong in whiskey.
Thus began an obsession into whisk(e)y, trying to figure out what they smell like, taste like and why they are the way they are.
Then I moved to Australia and I discovered that Knob Creek was rare, quite rare, and bloody expensive at around $100 AUS a bottle.
My favorite American whiskey wouldn't be so easily obtained anymore. And so for several years I didn't even see a bottle of Knob Creek. And then while in Singapore I was able to finish the last of a bottle while visiting the Auld Alliance.
Yeah I fell in love all over again. And I FELL HARD.
So when I heard that 2400 bottles were coming into Australia I knew I had to get one. And tonight, New Years Eve, I've got this bad boy open and I'm enjoying my very last dram of 2013.
Let's get into this whiskey shall we!?
The nose is a fairly typical bourbon nose, but it's bigger, better.
Toasted oak, heaps of vanilla, red vine licorice, cherries, some low level rye spices, and rich caramel.
Time for a drink though!
Drying, rye spices, mints, red vine licorice (totally love it when that comes off my whiskey!), vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. It's delicious!
A long sweet, yet drying finish that's full of those red vines.
Love, love this whiskey. Cant exclaim that enough. Can't emphasize that enough, and at the $35 dollars a bottle or so that it runs in the USA, I'd ALWAYS have a bottle of this on my shelf. However sadly with how rare it's imported into Australia and at it's price tag, I'll save it for my special treat!
@RianC thank you for your review. Air time might be helpful here.
I've tasted a few standard Knob Creeks from various batches, and found it to be a very batch variable bourbon. Some great. Some good. Some kinda 'meh'. For this reason I've never bought a 750 of this bourbon.
Now the Knob Creek SB Reserve 60% I like much better so far, and this is the one I buy...or should I say, have bought, because I have several in storage and it will take years for me to get to them.
About yeast, yeast is always a big deal. The ONE Beam bourbon that tastes to me unlike everything else they make is Baker's. I believe it is the yeast which is the big difference there.