This article is part of a series, Stories of Bourbon, sponsored by James B. Beam Distilling Co. Find out more about bourbon here!
With literally thousands of whiskey distilleries now in America, each of them making multiple products each year, it’s getting harder and harder for people to know which bottles they actually need in their home bar. Knob Creek® is an ideal choice because of its quality, complexity and versatility. Even though the industry has undergone seismic changes over the past three decades, the Kentucky brand has stood the test of time, staying true to its roots.
“Its aromatic profile is as rich and deep as its history,” says Adam Harris, Senior American Whiskey Ambassador for James B. Beam Distilling Co.
Named after the small Kentucky town where Abraham Lincoln was born, Knob Creek was founded in 1992 with a mission to restore American whiskey as it was meant to be made – patiently aged, full-bodied, and always of the highest quality. . Back then, it was a dark time for the industry, as consumers spent the 1970s and 1980s turning their backs on whiskey in favor of lighter, less flavorful spirits. The then master distiller, Booker Noe, grandson of Jim Beam, dreamed of returning to the full-bodied bourbons of a pre-Prohibition era. And, since no one was buying bourbon back then, it had a lot of aged stock to work with. What did he have to lose?
“He used some of the liquid that was already in the barrel,” says Booker’s son and current Master Distiller, Fred Noe. “He knew it was good.”
Booker’s intuition was correct. And, almost 30 years later, thanks to the momentum of pioneering brands like Knob Creek, we are now in a new golden era of bourbon and rye, perhaps like never before. In fact, there are so many whiskey enthusiasts clamoring for large bottles these days that many brands are now facing a problem they never could have foreseen in 1992: their stocks are dwindling. This has led so many whiskeys to lower age declarations, or even remove them altogether, in order to expand the offer.
“You can’t rush production,” says Harris, noting how Kentucky’s climate, with its huge temperature fluctuations, is ideal for barrel aging. “But the wait is worth it.”
Knob Creek still proudly labels 9 Years for its Straight Bourbon Whiskey and 12 Years for Small Batch. This extra time and effort produces dark amber colored bourbons, with a rich aroma of toasted nuts, grains and oak, and a smooth but balanced palate, with robust notes of vanilla and fruit, followed by a finish. bright and persistent. It is surely in opposition to all the sweeter, milder whiskeys on the market today.
It’s just the way the Jim Beam family has always done things. In fact, Booker and Knob Creek may have created America’s love affair with small batch bourbons very well when it launched in 1992. That romance extends to today as Knob Creek began to focus on the smallest batches possible, regularly releasing single barrels of bourbon and rye as part of its standard product line.
There’s a nine-year, 120-proof Single Barrel Reserve bourbon meant to showcase the inherently unique nature of each barrel. Engaged fans can also search retailers and private bars for Single Barrel Select Bourbon and Single Barrel Select Rye bottles – unique versions that are by their nature extremely limited and surprisingly diverse in their profile. These are ideal bottles to cherish and savor.
Of course, while Knob Creek is refined enough to sip cleanly, its bold character means it also works wonderfully in spirits cocktails that really let the liquid shine, both classic and more modern. The Old Fashioned is ideal; use bourbon for a sweeter cocktail, rye if you want a spicier one that reveals the white pepper, citrus peel and mint note of Knob Creek Rye. Other great cocktail options for Knob Creek include Manhattan, Sazerac, and even Boulevardier. For more modern options, try a New Fashioned, an Old Fashioned Bacon, or even a Black Manhattan.
“That’s what makes Knob Creek such a legend,” says Harris.
No matter how you enjoy your whiskey, Knob Creek always does the trick and should always have a place in your home bar.
This article is sponsored by James B. Beam Distilling Co. © 2021 Beam Suntory Inc. Chicago, IL