The Knob Creek fever continues with yet another expression from the Beams! This one’s a 9 YO, something a bit out of the ordinary for a Bourbon, with not many aged for this long! The Knob Creek 9 Straight Bourbon whiskey was first introduced in 1992, however the expression was forced to go through a hiatus sometime during the later half of 2016 when supplies began running low. It’s worth calling out that though most of Knob Creek’s expressions no longer carried an age statement, some of them did – their single barrel release for one. Nevertheless, the spirit was re-introduced once again during late 2020 when the inventory at the distillery was able to support the nine year minimum age requirement.
The mash used is made of 75% corn, 13% rye and the rest being malted barley. On distillation, the spirit is aged in deeply charred virgin American oak, giving it that lovely natural dark hue. The added charring, believed to be at its maximum, lends a charred layer to the barrel while also breaking down the wood beyond the char. This gives the spirit access to lignin and other chemicals that give it many of those traditional bourbon flavours, while the char also helps diffuse and neutralize many unwanted compounds, like a carbon filter!
ABV : 50%
Eye : Tawny -1
Nose : Warm caramel and cinnamon, with honey infused with charred smoke. Demerara sugar , coupled with un-ripened banana, sweet dates along with bits of sun dried tomatoes and a pinch of white pepper
Taste : Vanilla and brown sugar, with a mild hint of citrus zest. Some earthiness, resonates with woody and toasty nuances along with dried fruits, raisins and plums. A slight dryness is left on the palate, similar to red wine along with a dash of cinnamon that is quite omnipresent.
Finish : Medium | Cinnamon and vanilla, with a mellowed earthiness
Interesting, though not as diverse as the Knob Creek Rye, you can still sense the rye in the mix. A bit muted, the 9 YO still provides for a lovely mouthfeel, with the harmonious unison of spice and sweetness echoing through. The finish gets a bit thin and watery a short while later. Nevertheless, it does have a good balance with a bit of dryness that is left towards the end of the palate.
At AUD $80, though a decent whisky, this one’s not as much of a highlight as its sibling Rye. Decent depth, this one is a people pleaser with its sweet and woody, spiced profile.