This is Knob Creek Single Barrel 9yo. Purchased at Midtown Corkdorks in downtown Nashville about a mile from the Nelson Greenbrier distillery (Belle Meade). Barrel #3422 "hand selected" by the retailer, and they even provided a cool little map of where in the warehouse the barrel was located.
Warehouse: E Floor:5 Rick: Cove Barreled: March 15, 2008
Good marketing on their part. What are your thoughts on how much difference the location of the barrel in the warehouse makes?
Bottle has been opened for 5 days and is 90% full.
Nose: Starts with fruits. Apples, vanilla. Transitions to earthy tobacco, salted "country style ham" and slight bits of smoke and sawdust. Good balance and transition from sweet to savory.
Palate: First impressions to myself, and I quote my thoughts, "This is like licking a fresh oak plank thats been covered in butter and toasted." After further examination: Yes, the front end is like buttered, toasted oak. Also get southern style biscuits and a bit of smoke. This transitions to ripe stewed fruits. Red apple, rasberry and blackberry. The traditional bourbony caramel and vanilla are present here with the stewed fruits. There is a tad bit of spicy heat that adds yet another element here. Complex and impressive.
Finish: A long, see-saw battle of fresh oak and red apple skins lasting minutes later. Very enjoyable.
Overall: I'm impressed by this. Complex, great flavor transitions and balance. I did add water to a small pour but it doesn't do any favors so keep this one neat. This isnt a casual drinker. Savor and inspect this one and give it the time it derserves. Very drinkable at 60%. I have now spanned all of the Knob Creek line-up and this by far and away is the best of the bunch, as expected. I am enjoying this just as much or more as this year's Stagg Jr. At $41.99+tax this is a bargain!
@casualtorture, nice review, and I am with you with respect to my own experience of Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve. A good barrel of KCSBR is as good or better than most batches of Booker's, despite the couple of lower %age points of ABV difference, and the decidedly lower price tag. I consider KCSBR to be a best buy in the whisk(e)y market at current pricing. I expect the price to increase, and that it is actually a little underpriced for what you get. For this reason I already have at least 4 unopened bottles of KCSBR socked away (at around $ 35 incl tax each, on sale). The quality control is all about the skill of the distiller who makes the barrel selection, so you never know for sure whether a given barrel/bottle will be just as good as the last one you loved.
Everybody in the industry says that warehouse location is a very big deal and makes a huge difference in the maturation patterns of bourbons. I doubt, though, that any of us aficionados would be able to well assess those differences without a lot of warehouse tasting experience which we are not likely to get.