Whisky Connosr

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve (Bottled at the Distillery)

Grade 8 Graduation!

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

27th Jun 2018


Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve (Bottled at the Distillery)
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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My 14-year-old daughter graduated from Grade 8 today, which is a cause for celebration. Not only for that, and not only for the huge academic improvements she's made over the last six months - but also for winning the Ontario Principals' Council Principal's Award for Student Leadership (Mentorship Award)! I was blown away, so hugely proud, in tears as she strode up in her new dress (and if you know my daughter, getting her to wear a dress at all is a monumental achievement).

To properly celebrate, I knew I had to open something that was a bit more personal than the usual bottle. While Pam and I were at Jim Beam Distillery in May, we bottled our own Knob Creek Single Barrel, with our own thumbprint on the wax. Unfortunately, I don't recall the specifics of the bottle - I know it is barrel strength (higher than 60% ABV), and I think it's older than nine years (but I'm not 100% sure). Pam took some better notes but we can't find them right now....but regardless, let's give it a try, and compare it to the standard Knob Creek Small Batch (50% ABV).

The colour is a dark reddish amber. Damp tobacco on the nose, with dates, rum raisin, plum, cinnamon, very dark chocolate, balsamic and toasted oak. Black soap. Mint and rosemary. Baked apple skins. Dark honey. BBQ smoke. Maltier with water. Enormously rich but with lovely subtleties.

Slightly sour on the palate, and extremely herbal (mint but also tarragon this time). Liquorice all-sorts, strong brewed coffee, vanilla bean and oak. Blood orange pith. Dark maple syrup. Very spicy. Dry mouthfeel. Water brings out more wood tannins and a pinot noir note. A real bruiser - maybe too much of one as the oak is very dominant.

The finish is long and deep with charred oak, beef stock, more dark chocolate and a hint of strawberry. I would have liked this to be slightly more subtle on the palate, but overall this is a bold, powerful and excellent bourbon. Despite the ABV (which I remember is 60+%) it really doesn't need water. Compared to the standard Small Batch, it is much darker (and redder), and stronger and oakier on both the nose and the palate (no surprise). I wish I could remember the specifics of my Single Barrel, though - if I ever come across Pam's notes, I will mention in the comments.

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Nozinan commented

My congratulations on your daughter's award.

I attended my daughter's grade 5 grad on Monday, and she won her school's Principal's award. After seeing all of her friends win a lot of the other awards, I think she was feeling a little left out until that last one.

I guess the moral is...if your father is a whisky connosr, you'll go far in school.

Great review, too...

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented

@talexander, congratulations to the proud papa! @Nozinan may be on to something. My daughter is currently doing her masters in nursing/nurse practitoner and was recently awarded an internship...way to go connosr offspring!

5 years ago 4Who liked this?

casualtorture commented

I'm a fan of this one. Oaky, Oaky, Oaky. And I definitely get that beef stock too now that you mentioned it. My bottle is getting low though. I'll need a replacement soon.

As for offspring, mine is still in the oven but will be here in about 2 weeks.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

Congratulations to your daughter ! This bourbon sounds wonderful. My own experience with KC Single Barrel was a bit less impressive. Perhaps you got a barrel from a better spot in the warehouse. Or maybe it's the extra ABV that works its magic.

5 years ago 0

Victor commented

@OdysseusUnbound, that is the thing with single barrel products. Everything depends upon the taste of the one selecting the barrels. Your barrel provided only a couple of hundred bottles which likely tasted similar to the one you owned.

Back in 2004-2007, prior to its more recent gentrification, cult status, and rarity, there were a few online complaints about Elijah Craig 18 yo Single Barrel. I've never had a bad sample of Elijah Craig 18 yo, but I'll bet that some people well may have. If it is your first and only bottle of the product, then that is probably 100% of your experience with that product.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

RikS commented

Not sure which I find more endearing - the mental image of the daughter unusually donning a pretty summer dress, or the daddy bursting with pride in the audience :-). Actually, I think the latter - being myself the dad of a little gal and very able to empathise! Congratulations to both of you!

5 years ago 1Who liked this?