The Bourbon summer season seems to get going in early May with the Kentucky Derby. So last night I opened a bottle of Knob Creek, which I hadn’t tasted for a while. And I found that Knob Creek has stayed true to its signature style with this Single Barrel Reserve. The label on the flask-style bottle also mentions it is small batch, aged nine years in the mild Kentucky air.
Woody, grassy and earthy notes follow from the aroma onto the palate, adding vanilla and caramel along the way. More wood and caramel appear in the finish, with a touch of smoke from the barrels layered in. At the beginning and end the heat of higher alcohol become apparent: this spirit is 120 proof. That and a couple other elements make this bourbon stand out: the woody notes are more cedar than oak, for me; and there’s pronounced fruit in the flavor and finish, which softens the spirit and ties everything together. (Around $44; media sample)