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Knob Creek Rye

Advantages of A Long-Opened Rye

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@VictorReview by @Victor

30th Apr 2016


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Knob Creek Rye was first released in 2012, and is the only rye whiskey made by Jim Beam sold at 50% ABV or higher. The reviewed sample was decanted 6 months ago from a bottle which was 80% full and open for 2 1/2 years. I have also sampled this whiskey several times from the bottle when it was newly opened. There is No Age Statement on this Straight Rye Whiskey, so we can assume that this is aged about 4 or 5 years. US Straight Rye aged less than 4 years legally requires an age statement

Nose: sharp-edged moderate intensity spice, cinnamon/cassia, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper from rye grain. There is moderate dark fruit, plums and black raspberries in this long-opened bottle, and much more dark fruit than was evident when this bottle was first opened. This is a solid but not outstanding rye nose. Score: 21.5/25

Taste: strong flavours; Wow! there is so much lovely dark fruit on the palate, much more than when this bottle was first opened. This is a fairly common flavour evolution with straight US rye whiskey. In the early days the fruit was more tucked away and the spices were what were most evident. There is significant sweetness here, but you don't notise it much with all of that spice around. Scoring for this review is for the whiskey now, and the score is higher than I would have given when the bottle was first opened. Score: 22.5/25

Finish: long, strong, spicy, and fruity. There's a little sourness and a little bitterness at the end, but not enough to ruin things. Score: 22.5/25

Balance: this Knob Creek Rye was solid when first opened, but is about 3 points better now, overall, after long air exposure. Score: 22.5/25

Total Sequential Score: 89 points

Strength: medium strength on the nose; strong thereafter. Score: 23/25

Quality: very good spice and fruit flavours throughout; a little too much sourness and bitterness on the finish. Score: 22/25

Variety: plenty of variety here. Score: 23/25

Harmony: very good on the nose and palate; fair to good harmony on the finish. Score: 21.5/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 89.5 points

Comment: when first opened I found Knob Creek Rye to be about an 86 point whiskey. This one gains a lot with air. It is about time that Beam is finally selling a rye whiskey at 50% ABV. My next goal for Beam Rye: Old Overholt Barrel Proof. Here's hoping!

Related Knob Creek reviews


Frost commented

@Victor thank you for a knock out review! You reminded me that I need to grab this expression. I know a place with a few tucked away.

Also, did this expression ever come out with a 9 year statement like the other Knob Creek line up?

Keeping the rye topic with JB. The Booker's Rye could be worth a look into too

5 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Frost, there was never an age statement here, which reflects how totally taken off guard the US distillers were by the enormously increased interest in rye whiskey, both in the US and worldwide. It used to be just fewer than 10 years ago that most of the large US distillers would only devote one or two days per year to distilling rye whiskey. The big US distillers, with the possible exception of Heaven Hill, do not appear to have much stock in aged rye now. As mentioned above, this Knob Creek Rye is probably 4 or 5 years old. I doubt that many of the barrels included would be over 6 years old.

Booker's Rye sounds great!...and it will be the the first Beam Rye over 50% ABV in recent memory. I just hope that it is a regular release, and not a one-off. We need more barrel strength US rye on the market, and the Booker's 6-8 yo age range will work fine, just as it does for Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye.

5 years ago 0

newreverie commented

@Victor The Booker's Rye is a one off at least for the initial release. The plan is similar in style to the 25th anniversary. The batch will be labeled 2016-LE if I recall. From what I have heard the Rye is over 10 years old and will be bottled barrel proof >60% The real question will be price. The 25th anniversary was priced at ~$100 for a bottle, with many retailers marking it up to $250.

5 years ago 0

Victor commented

@newreverie, yes, I have already seen some nasty online rumours about pricing on the Booker's Rye. If I don't like the price I will likely look to sample it rather than to buy it by the bottle.

5 years ago 0

broadwayblue commented

I heard $300 for the Booker's Rye. Too rich for my blood if true.

5 years ago 0

Nozinan commented

Only if I win the lottery and have money to waste...

5 years ago 0

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