A few years ago, Knob Creek ran into some inventory shortages with their bourbon aging in their warehouses. Seems we drank the hell out of Beam’s 9-year-old bourbon. Cheers to us! In response, Beam Suntory removed the 9 year age statement from Knob Creek. To their credit, the flavor profile of the NAS release was largely left unchanged, though there were slight differences.
Recently, Beam’s inventory is where it needs to be and, in turn, announced the return of the 9-year age statement back to Knob Creek. That’s not all, folks! A 12-year-old Knob Creek, released as a limited edition in 2019, has now become a permanent addition to the Knob Creek lineup. Both expressions remain 100 proof, which I find to be a very pleasant proof when I’m drinking neat.
Knob Creek 9-year-old ($34.99) brings me back to the first time I sipped this modern classic bourbon years back. The nose brings lovely honey roasted nuts, caramel, oak spice, dried apricot, and sweet tobacco leaf notes. Taste-wise, candied fruit and caramel kick things off. Orange peel, salted peanuts, and some oak spice soon develop. There’s not a lot of the slightly young-ish roasted corn, making this release a bit more refined. The finish is long and somewhat sweet.
The 12-year-old ($59.99), as expected, smells a bit darker than its younger sibling. Rich aromas of spiced caramel, slightly burnt orange peel, roasted nuts, and a lot of spice. Citrus notes are featured a bit more prominently, which complement the darker caramels, cigar box, and oak spice found on the palate. There’s a nice oak structure on the back palate. The dry, bittersweet finish is a little softer than expected, featuring a caramel-ish note.
Knob Creek has bucked the recent trend of removing age statements in the bourbon industry. Age isn’t everything, but I sure am glad to see that number return to the label. Knob Creek has always been a favorite in my household. It’s one of the few bourbons I reach for on a regular basis.
In essence, the “new” 9-year-old Knob Creek is as good or slightly better than it’s always been. I don’t have to tell you what you already know – this is a solid bourbon. The 12-year-old release peppers in darker, spicier notes, giving us a more complex drinking experience. I couldn’t be happier with both of these whiskies. Okay, enough writing. Time for another pour. ‘Til next time…
Thanks to Beam Suntory for the samples. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.