Full bodied, excellent combination of spicy and sweet alongside classic Jim Beam nuttiness.
The palate has a hefty ethanol bite.
Knob Creek rye whiskey, launched by Beam-Suntory in 2012, has by all accounts been a successfully consistent and solid mid-shelf rye whiskey over the past several years. In late 2017, Beam finally threw fans of the whiskey a bone by announcing that a new single barrel program would be launched for Knob Creek rye, with single barrel bottles elevated up to 115 proof from the standard small batch release’s 100 proof. Now, almost out of the blue, Knob Creek Rye is back in the spot light not even six months later with this “limited edition” small batch rye carrying a 9 year age statement and bottled at full cask strength. While it’s being marketed as a limited edition, I can’t find any actual bottle count for the release, nor information on whether or not this will be a one-time only release.
While Beam’s bourbon mash bills are widely known, its rye mashbill(s) are a bit more secretive. Alongside Knob Creek, the Beam distillery in Clermont, KY also produces Jim Beam Rye, Old Overholt Rye and the now-archived Booker’s Rye. Booker’s Rye was almost certainly a unique rye mash bill, but who knows if Knob Creek shares the same mash as the others. One thing we can say with relative certainty is that it is a low-rye mash somewhere between 51-65% rye content, which is on par with the majority of rye whiskeys made in Kentucky.
- 9 year age stated
- Barreled in 2009
- Exclusively aged in Warehouse A
- Bottled at 59.8% ABV (119.6 Proof)
Nose: A bit of alcohol heat emanates from the glass, but it is not so strong as to inhibit a full and proper nosing. The aroma carries distinct notes of citrusy lemon, pencil shavings, sweet nutty frosting, and faint toffee. There is just a touch of bubblegum in there as well.
Palate: The entry contains some spice-laden dill, but as the dram develops it expresses further notes of oak sugars, peanut brittle, sweet butterscotch, and accent notes of charred spice and tart corn. The body is warm and full, providing an excellent mouth feel.
Finish: Spicy and creamy with a nice dose of vanilla extract, tart oak, peanuts, and caramel. There’s a faint smokiness intertwined. The finish is quite long, and it dries out as it lingers with fading notes of sweet corn and leather.
Buying Recommendation: Must Try! At the $69.99 I paid, this is a must-have bottle for fans of sweeter rye whiskeys. The real highlight here is the sweet and spice combination. The flavors play very well together, and only become more pronounced and enjoyable the further into the dram you get. While I don’t think this limited edition is leaps and bounds better than the regular small batch or single barrel bottles I’ve tried, I do think that it is clearly the best of the Knob Creek rye series. Kudos to Beam-Suntory for providing us with a tasty, reasonably priced, and age stated limited edition rye! It’s baffling to me why anyone would chase a 2 year rye whiskey for over $100 when something like this is available. Cheers!