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Knob Creek was the first whiskey I really took a shine to, so I was excited at the prospect of a new version. This single-barrel expression is also aged 9 years and bottled at 120 proof.
After adding some water I put my nose up to the glass, trying to pick out specific aromas from the general "bourbon smell". The first impression I got, strangely, is of a musty cellar. Deeper in the glass there are sweet spices and that old smokey leather smell. Very rich, deep, expressive. Hot and oily. After a few minutes in the glass some lighter floral notes start to develop. Becomes sweeter and less musty. Very nice.
It prickles the tongue with cinnamon heart flavour, then that earthy/vegetal note that made me think of cellars. Robust and mouth-coating. Nice development from spicy to sweet to oaky. The finish is incredibly long and maintains all the flavours, leaving a lasting impression.
Overall I'm thrilled with this whiskey. It is fun to sip at full strength and feel the burn but it really shines after a bit of water is added. Tastes a touch more refined than the Small Batch version to me.