Review of the Month: The Knob Creek Rye review
Company: Jim Beam
Age: No Age Statement but they say “patiently”
Classification: Rye Whiskey
Breakdown: Unable to confirm anything here apart from the obvious >51% rye
Price: c. £35-40
Sometime in 2014…
MAV: “You know how we like drinking bourbon?”
MR PIE: “Yeah?”
MAV: “Why don’t we create a website and post bourbon reviews? We could even make a podcast”
MR PIE: “I think you’ve been drinking too much, absolutely no way we could never do that”
Sometime in 2016…
MR PIE: “You know that crazy idea you had in 2014? We could do it, but we would have to use our combined project planning experience and expertise to make it work. A fastidious and precise schedule of detailed and honest bourbon reviews would be essential to achieve any kind of success”
MAV: “Sure, that goes without saying. We could be even be known as the Bourbon Gents. We just need to decide what our first bourbon review would be. I mean as a bourbon website it has to be a good one.
MR PIE: "You’re right. We need to make a statement with out first review that shows just how serious we are and how much we love bourbon.”
29th August 2016…
Bourbongents.com is launched and our first ever review is Knob Creek… Rye. Oops.
Fast forward to May 2019 and here we are revisiting that very first review. The price has held its own over these last 3 years in the UK, and can still be found for under £40. The Jim Beam Knob Creek bottle line labelling has been redesigned to a simpler, smaller, and in our opinion, more stylish font type and colouring. The mash bill is still officially unreleased and unknown to all but those at Jim Beam. Rumours vary widely of the actual percentage rye content, we’ve seen it listed as anywhere between 55 and 73% (obviously it is at least 51% to be a labelled as a rye whiskey). We’ve also only recently realised that it is probably also a very similar mash bill to Jim Beam Straight Rye and the Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskies, but both of those of course being bottled at the lower alcohol by volume value of 40%.
The Knob Creek Rye Cask Strength release even made it into our 2018 Top 10 Wish List. We are unfortunately still waiting to sample it and receive what we hope to be an almighty Kentucky hug.
As this was our first review (and we had no idea what we were doing) it is rather short, not word perfect and contains unrefined and inexperienced tasting notes, but it definitely keeps in line with our self-imposed day 1 review philosophy of it being a genuine and completely honest review. Enjoy…
Knob Creek is produced at the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky, USA. It is named after a small stream which flows through President Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home. The brand has surprisingly only been around since 1992, with Knob Creek Rye only since 2012. It was the first Knob Creek release to not show an age statement.
The marketing message for the brand is the rebirth of honest bourbon and to restore the standards of pre-prohibition. The official website claims that it is also the world’s most awarded bourbon. It is a super shaped apothecary type bottle, and the label is inspired by a historical practice of wrapping bottles in newspaper at the distillery
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass (water was added after the scoring)
What we got - Menthol, fresh, wet forest of trees (fern?), spiciness of the rye
What they say we should get - Expansive notes of herbs and rye with nuances of oak
What we got - Fresh, pine tree, strong, spicy, peppery
What they say we should get - Bold rye spiciness with undertones of vanilla and oak
What we got - Medium length spice finish, very pleasant
What they say we should get - Warm and smooth with spice throughout
Nose and palate very similar. Big and full flavor. For a new bourbon drinker the purely neat version is possibly overpowering on the spice/pepper, but not on the alcohol. The Gents went rouge after the scoring and added a drop or two of water and as expected it softened the experience making it more creamy & palatable.
According to the makers of Jim Beam this is what whiskey used to taste like prior to prohibition. The Bourbon Gents sure wish we could get hold of a time machine! This really is excellent.
6 out of 10 - Mav
8 out of 10 – Mr. Pie