Distiller: Jim Beam. ABV: 50%. Age: 14 years. Mashbill: 77% corn, 13% rye, 10% malted barley. Price: $130.
The Knob Creek 2001 Vintage is the second big special release from Beam in recent weeks paying tribute to the dear departed Booker Noe. The first was the massive cask-strength Booker’s Rye that Noe laid down in 2003–see our review of the rye, which knocked my socks off.
Here’s the other: a 14-year-old Knob Creek laid down in 2001, the oldest ever released. (The Whiskey Jug has some interesting trivia about it and the Booker’s Rye from his tasting of it at the distillery.) The buzz I’d been hearing was “best Knob Creek ever,” so it was great to get an early taste of this too.
I haven’t had every Knob Creek, so I can’t say whether this is the best ever. But I can say this is a great one.
The nose has dark wildflower honey and sweet oak. A touch of mint. With time and air, the oak shades toward cedar. On the palate: oak, grilled fruits, vanilla, and parchment. A bit lighter-bodied than I expected for the age. On the finish, the mint comes back stronger, with dry herbal notes–almost floral–and some grapefruit rind. Just the right amount of bitter oak at the end.
Clearly a special occasion bottle at $130, but an undeniably delicious one.
Cheers! – BO
Jim Beam graciously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.