For a Jim Beam product actually quite outstanding.
Notes: A premium version of their Knob Creek Whiskey, this, a single barrel version, comes in at 120 proof (more or less a standardized barrel proof). This is the first time they have released a single barrel version of this and it is one of their higher proof whiskies – the others being the Booker’s Bourbon (proof varies but usually north of 125 proof ) and their Old Grand Dad 114 proof bourbon.
Appearance: Quite dark a yellow red/gold – hard to gauge age by color on this one (older whiskey has more of a red shift in the color). Nice edge line on the glass when you swirl it, smooth layer of whisky on swirling, some legs.
First Impression: Lots of oak influence on the whiskey both in color and smell. Dried fruits, pecans, tobacco, vanilla and caramel notes on nosing. Cleaner and more fruit and vanilla than their standard Knob Creek expression.
Taste: Surprisingly pleasant and drinkable at full strength Slightly viscous and fatty mouth feel/entry with sweetness of corn, rye spice, oak and tobacco to it. Vanilla and caramel come out from the oak barrels in a big way. Some sweetness and surprisingly little burn as it goes down.
Drinks: We tried it in a Manhattan, and it was quite, well, robust springs to mind As to other drinks – good for a highball or other uncomplicated drinks. You will need to experiment and adjust recipes and shake or stir a bit longer to compensate for the higher proof to achieve balance (both taste and physical ) or you will get overpowered.
Cigars: Yes, works well with a mild to medium cigars.
Bottle: Standard square Knob Creek bottle pretty much. Black wax neckwrap and cork closure. Relatively easy-to-open compared to some wax seals.
Final Thoughts:This actually is just a hair short of a 8 olive rating – more to distinquish the other whiskies that were high eights but not quite nines in our opinion to make simpler cuts or groupings.Same goes for the value – at 120 proof you are getting more whiskey (like half again as much for an 80 proof) but when you start to approach the $40 mark there are a number of contenders.
If you like the regular Knob Creek you will love this whiskey. Think of the difference between say whole milk and cream, that is the difference in the concentration and quality of the flavor.
Some information and tasting notes, but fairly shallow site altogether.