The one thing I love more than Knob Creek Single Barrel is Knob Creek Single Barrel Select, that is to say store picks of this wonderful bourbon. Knob Creek Single Barrel is bottled at 120 proof, which is generally very close to barrel proof. Imagine throwing about a red solo cup of water in a barrel of bourbon to proof it down and that’s about right.
Doing store picks of Knob Creek is a lot of fun. While the Lake Charles store primarily did this one, I have helped Hokus pick barrels before.
This release is three different barrels, all the same age at 11 years and four months, from different locations in Warehouse E at Jim Beam. Thus, the three sisters: Sister I, Blonde Bombshell, Sister II, Tasteful Brunette, and the redheaded step sister, Ginger.
Blonde Bombshell is very classic Knob Creek Single Barrel, with both the herbal rye spice and cherry fruity notes in nice balance. But what really blew me away on this one was the smoothness and the rich syrupy mouthfeel. It has a little nuttiness on the end that reminds me of Booker’s. It’s great and an extremely solid rendition of the traditional Jim Beam flavor profile with the right amount of nuttiness without the peanut funk. This is the usual profile of Knob Creek Single Barrel, which I drink a lot of since I can’t get Stagg Jr. regularly anymore. Just smoother and silkier.
Tasteful Brunette is much more herbal rye heavy, but with that same luscious mouthfeel. I would swear this is the Old Grand-Dad/Basil Hayden’s mashbill, just aged longer. It’s just so rye heavy. The finish just goes on and on. Really good, and if you like high rye bourbon this will knock your socks off. Jim Beam really ought to consider adding a 10 year old high high proof bourbon to its line up. They could easily sell it for $100 a bottle.
Ginger is actually slightly redder in hue, and I turned the backs of the bottles away from my vision to make sure. Baking spice and caramel dominate the nose; very special. Heavy on the cherry notes, which is probably my favorite version of the Knob Creek Barrel Select; this is precisely what I look for when tasting their barrels. Certain Knob Creek barrels are heavy on the cherry notes and I just love it. Voluptuous mouthfeel with a long Cherries Jubilee finish. In one sense, this bourbon is less complex than her sisters, and so from a technical standpoint Ginger may not be as “good”. But, I just love this flavor profile and it is just so different from most bourbons I taste, so there is a certain Willie Wonkaness to this bourbon that blows me away every time.
The really great part is the price point on these. $48. Knob Creek Single Barrel Select, when your local store has picked a barrel, is just amazing no matter the profile, and the Three Sisters are great representatives of what you get when you buy a bottle of this.
These are just way better than Booker’s, which costs $30 more. Booker Noe eschewed single barrel bourbons in favor of small batch. His son Fred has realized how good some of those barrels are so good they need to stand on their own. Good on him. Knob Creek Single Barrel Select is something really special in the crowded bourbon market.