Veteran Bourbon Review: Knob Creek Single Barrel


Jim Beam Distillery-Clermont, KY


60 % Corn, 36 % Rye, 4% Malted Barley




100 Proof

Purchase Price


Official Product Website

History – Knob Creek is an American brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey produced by Beam Suntory (a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings of Osaka, Japan) at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. It is one of the four Jim Beam small batch bourbon brands targeted for the high-end liquor market. Its siblings in the line are Booker’s, Baker’s, and Basil Hayden’s.

The Knob Creek Single Barrel Experience is a program allowing retailers to taste and pick a barrel they wish to have bottled and sell exclusively at their stores. A retailer will taste many barrels until they find one they think is perfect enough to put their store name on it. The retailer in this case, Roswell Beverage in Roswell, Georgia. Because of this experience, the barrels are meticulously tracked and the bottles are labeled with exact locations within the distillery’s rickhouses. Each barrel is “a story all its own, uniquely influenced by nature, time and its individual journey.” – Knob Creek 

Value – This bottle sells for anything from $50-$60 depending on your area and the store. I bought mine for $55.

Appearance – This bottle is filled with a medium-dark amber-brown colored bourbon with a wax sealed, corked top.  The bottle shape is rectangular. When pulling the tab to remove the wax seal, the tab broke and I had to get some pliers to assist me, so be careful when pulling yours. I enjoy the stylish look of the Knob Creek bottles. They look very clean and organized with color schemes that instantly identify their product.

Nose – Due to this bourbon’s high proof, it’s initially hard to get past the strong smell of alcohol. Once you get used to it, you’ll catch some light and delightfully sweet hints of brown sugar and caramel. To finish out the aroma, you’ll notice hints of old, earthy wood.  If you enjoy a bourbon with a strong aroma, this bourbon will leave you wanting more.

Palate – This bourbon hits pretty hard due to the 120 proof.  Hopefully you have strong taste buds, because they will be numb after about 5 good sips. When you initially take a sip, you’ll notice an enjoyable tingling sensation on your lips, tongue, and the back of your throat. Most of the flavor is masked by the strong alcohol and you don’t really get much taste until you swallow. In my opinion, I don’t care for the initial sip of this bourbon, because the majority of the flavor comes out after swallowing.

Finish – This bourbon has a semi-hot finish and reminds you of it every sip you take. It’ll leave your mouth feeling numb, but after you swallow you’ll taste a quick hint of sweetness followed by a strong, lingering old oak flavor. This flavor becomes more earthy and pronounced over the course of around 10 seconds, then fades away.  Surprisingly, the heat quickly goes away and doesn’t leave you breathing fire, which is very nice and uncommon for this high proof. 

Summary – When tasting this bourbon, you have to remember this is a higher proof drink and not for beginners. A lot of the flavor is masked by the strong alcohol and most beginners won’t be able to get past this. The tingling sensation is very strong, which is great for people who enjoy higher proof bourbons. The sweet, oak notes are subtle and if you’re a person who enjoys lots of flavor and aroma, this bourbon may not be for you. The strong overpowering heat that comes with higher proof bourbons isn’t present after swallowing , which is a great quality in my opinion.  Overall, for the price, this bourbon lacks a lot.  There are many other bourbons out there with similar burn, more flavor, and a better aroma that have a better price point. 

“If you are looking for a hot bourbon that will numb your lips, tongue, and mouth and have you feeling good in no time, buy this bourbon. If you are more into smell, flavor, and value look elsewhere.”

– John McGowan


Uniqueness – 1-10 – 6

Appearance- 1-10 – 6

Nose- 1-20 – 7

Palate- 1-20 – 7

Finish- 1-20 – 15

Value- 1-20 – 10

Reviewed By:

John McGowan on 8/28/2022

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