Small Batch Collection

Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey Review

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Knob Creek bourbon is the best selling whiskey of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection.  It’s a small batch bourbon aged nine years at 100 proof.  Knob Creek is named after Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home, Knob Creek Farm.  I’m no stranger to this one – this is the third bottle I’ve owned over the years.  I’ve got friends who swear by it.  It MUST be good, right?

The common theme for Knob Creek is wood.  There’s lots of it.  On the nose there’s vibrant oak, vanilla, spice and a tad of caramel.  The palate is no different – lots of char and vanilla.  There’s a little cinnamon spice, brown sugar and caramel there, but they play second fiddle to the oak.  It’s got a medium semi-sweet finish.  That was tasting it neat.  Over some ice, the sweet notes make their presence further known.

Knob Creek sure has a lot of oak for a 9 year old bourbon.  It’s pretty good.  What keeps it from being great is an unbalance of flavors.  The oak and sweetness never compliment each other.  Rather, they seem to be competing for dominance, with the victor oftentimes being the charred wood flavors.  That being said, something about it keeps me coming back.  Like I mentioned earlier, this is the third bottle I’ve purchased over the last several years.  The flavors are pretty bold for a bourbon.  I think its $35 price point makes Knob Creek an affordable, robust bourbon worthy of a purchase.

7.5/10

Baker’s Bourbon Whiskey Review

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As part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection along with Knob Creek, Booker’s and Basil Hayden’s, Baker’s bourbon seems to suffer from middle child syndrome.  I find it’s often overlooked and sometimes under appreciated.  Baker’s bourbon is a 7 year old 107 proof mountain of Jim Beam flavor.   Baker Beam is Jim Beam’s great-nephew and was a distiller at Jim Beam for a long time.  He is current master distiller Fred Noe’s uncle.

(The distillery’s PR firm sent a review sample.)  On the nose I get some vanilla, a touch of caramel, and a little banana.  There’s a little alcohol vapor that fades after a few minutes.  Baker’s has a nice medium mouthfeel, most likely due to its high proof.  This lends it to not be as watery as Jim Beam.  However, it does have that Jim Beam flavor turned up a notch or two.  I’m talking about vanilla, slight fruit, caramel and cinnamon spice.  It’s got a long, spicy and semi-sweet finish.

In essence, Baker’s is just a 7 year old Jim Beam bottled at 107 proof.  That’s a good thing if you like Jim Beam’s flavor profile.  It’s much closer to that flavor profile than say Booker’s or Knob Creek.  Also, don’t let the high proof scare you away.  This is easily drinkable neat, and not too shabby on the rocks.  A bottle of Baker’s will cost you north of $40.  Recommended.

8/10