- On June 14, 2016
These days, it seems like you can’t throw a rock without hitting a new gin or bourbon. Everybody wants to build a brand, and now is the time to do it. But what about the absolutely fantastic spirits that were around before it was cool? This week, we’re going to discuss Knob Creek and the exciting new offer we have with it!
About two months ago, Patrick got the opportunity to journey down to Louisville, KY and visit the epic distillery property that is Jim Beam’s Clermont Plant. Sprawling hills and gentle rivers crisscross the landscape, with dark rickhouses dotting the turf. Here is where all the fantastic bourbons you’ve come to know and love from Jim Beam are born (not including acquired brands). The scale of it is frankly astonishing. Raw distillate spills through the spirit safe in a torrent, as they pump out a BARREL a MINUTE. Take that in for a moment. Our current beverage climate has taken the view that quality cannot be produced in quantity. If you’re a macro producer, what you are churning out must be substandard or flawed. That couldn’t be further from the truth here. The attention to detail, the sheer mastery they have over their craft and the lineage they can trace of expertise and experimentation is extensive.
Jim Beam debuted Knob Creek as part of their Small Batch Collection in 1992. When Beam launched this series, it represented a whole new direction for bourbon in America. While it can’t necessarily be called the impetus for the renaissance we are currently experiencing, they definitely were sine of the first “super-premium” American made whiskeys on the market. Each represented a different style and portrayal of the classic American spirit, but perhaps the most well-known is Knob Creek. Odds are if you’re any sort of bourbon fan, you’ve had a bottle of Knob Creek pass through your liquor cabinet. It is one of the purest expressions of old-time whiskey. Rich, woody and chewy, with spice to back it all up. It’s priced accessibly, and is consistently available, which is actually a strong selling point nowadays. It’s a great everyday drinker, but even MORE exciting is their newer Single Barrel Reserve offering. Intense yet somehow versatile, it is a seriously fantastic whiskey. And we picked out our own!
Given a choice of three different barrels representing three different locations in the warehouse, it was a difficult decision to make! These rickhouses have no temperature regulation, so each area of the building is almost a sort of microclimate. First, we had the barrel from the top of the warehouse. Aged where temperatures get quite high and we have more water evaporation, we get a barrel that increases in proof as it slumbers. This results in a whiskey that is much woodier and ages quicker than its other siblings. Next we had a barrel from the bottom few ricks in the warehouse. These are cooler levels, with a slower aging process and proof loss in the barrels. You could put a whiskey in at 125, and have it exit at 122 or even lower! And finally, we had the Goldilocks barrel. Selected from what Booker Noe called the “center cut”, the middle rick levels get some of the benefits of both areas. It’s a more moderate temperature, so the aging process is graceful, but high enough that the wood comes through in a more balanced way.
We selected barrel #3380, aged on the 12th rick, with a barrel proof of 122.8. It has the richness and body of the upper level bourbons, but without an over-dry tannic finish. It has a lingering, delightfully spicy finish that cannot be beat. Knob Creek Single Barrel is bottled at 120 proof, so it retains a TON of the flavor and intensity of cask-strength spirits. Our guide at the facility estimated they would have to add roughly half a gallon of water to the barrel to bring it down to proof. That… is awesome. We love it, and we think you will too. Stop in on July 2nd from 3-6 to sample it as well as some other great, All-American spirits!