Knob Creek Small Batch Review


Knob Creek Review

Knob Creek is one of the 4 premium bourbons put out by Jim Beam. The others are Booker’s, Baker’s and Basil Hayden (which a longer aged Old Grand-Dad) and I’ll getting tackling them soon enough. Knob Creek takes it’s name from Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home in Kentucky and is quite a good bourbon. Maybe I’m just an old tyme romantic, but I also like the story they weave about it being created to represent a style of whiskey that existed before mass production and supposedly “embodies the look, feel and taste of pre-prohibition bourbon”. Which might be why it’s so damn good in pre-prohibition cocktails.

At nine years Knob Creek is aged for longer than a lot of Bourbon brands out there, but age isn’t everything. As true with whiskey as it is in life, age is just a number and it’s maturity that really matters. This is where Knob Creek steps to the plate and, for the most part delivers with taste and texture that can only come from a mature bourbon. Knob Creek may not be the most complex bourbon out there, but it’s a solid full bodied bourbon with classic flavors and a smooth finish that’s easy to drink. It’s delicious neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail and it’s robust flavor is why it’s one of the bourbons I like to keep on hand.

If you’ve tried Knob Creek I’d love to hear your thoughts or tasting notes in the comments below.

Knob Creek 9 Year Bourbon Review

ABV: 50%
Price: $35
Distiller: Knob Creek / Jim Beam

Very deep caramel with some red and orange facets

A classic bourbon nose of caramel with hints of vanilla. Some cinnamon notes and something a bit like a low grade maple syrup. Soft oak is accompanied by notes of something intriguingly vegetal. A hint of corn so light that I could just be imagining it.

Caramel comes rolling out of the glass and even though it’s a bit hidden some vanilla tumbles alongside of it. A slightly musty corn runs through the whole dram with some full bodied oak balancing it out. Plenty of bourbon spice and some notes of malt that help round out the whole palate.

For a 100 proof it’s rather easy to drink neat. It’s smooth and warming without a whole lot of burn. A little dry, but that comes with the 100 proof territory.

Caramel dominates the aftertaste and is followed up with some corn, grainy cherry like fruit and a solid woody underpinning.

SCORE: 87/100

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

Latest posts by Josh Peters (see all)

40 Responses to Knob Creek Small Batch Review

  1. This is my son’s favorite so I bought some recently when he was coming to town. Nice, but I don’t like it quite as well as Elijah Craig 12…..

    • Thanks for the comment. Taste is a funny thing. I have a couple friends who can’t stand this and a few other that love it even more than I do. For my tastes we’re a bit flipped. I do like the EC12, but not quite as much as this.


  2. Jim Beam Black is my daily drinker bourbon. I enjoy Knob Creek and Bookers on the weekend. I love the layers of flavor in Knob Creek and the great long finish. It also evolves in flavor day to day sometimes,(probably my taste buds not the bourbon so much). I have enjoyed your reviews sir. Thank you.

    • Thank you! I experience the same thing where some days I can just tell things aren’t tasting quite the same which is why, if I can manage it, I always have 3 glasses of a whiskey over a period of a week or two before I write the review.


  3. Well, it’s definitely Beam. It’s got Beaminess written all over it. The long finish stays up front in the palette. I imagine it’s good with grilled meats. I’ve only tried it neat so far, but I’m guessing it’s great in cocktails–balance out the corn and wood a little.

    To be honest, it’s a little unfair that I had it side-by-side with Four Roses Single Barrel. They both have a sweet nose and are 100 proof, but the similarities end there.

      • This might be my new go-to bourbon for Manhattans. I generally prefer rye in Manhattans because my past criticism would be that bourbon is too sweet in this application. However, Knob Creek has changed my mind. When I got home from work today, I immediately mixed up a Knob Creek Manhattan, and I’ve found my drink (4:1, Knob Creek: sweet vermouth, plus two shakes each of Angostura and Peychauds). I followed that up with an Old Fashioned, which reminded me how much I love that boozy excuse for a cocktail.

        Both of these went down a little too quickly.

  4. This and Bulleit are the two bourbons I keep in the cabinet all the time. I love Knob Creek and I can find it here (Memphis) in the $28 range.

  5. In photo you rate 87, but final rating following text of review you give 90.

    Just an observation. Thanks. Solid review, as always.

  6. Trying this for the first time tonight and loving it. I’m on my third two finger glass. (First two neat, last one with a splash of water). I really dig the slight sweetness up front, then the spice and vanilla. Even at 100 proof this stuff is smooth as silk. Priced right- easy to find. Guess I’ve found another staple to add to my collection.

    Thanks for the reviews!

  7. Love this one on the rocks, and it’s solid neat as well. At $36, I don’t buy it often (so many other good choices in the $15-$30 range), but it serves as the top shelf bourbon at a lot of restaurants, so…It is my go to “out to dinner” whiskey.

  8. did a taste test with this, Elijah Craig 12 and evan williams SB vintage. compared to the heaven hill entries, i find the knob creek harsh and almost acid. the burn starts on the lips and continues down the gullet. maybe i am more used to heaven hill. also knob creek here is $35 on sale, while elijah craig is $24 and EV $23.

  9. I think this is a great bourbon for casual consumption.For the price it’s quite a catch, I got the 1.75 ltr at Costco for under $40. Yes, it does lack the complexity of an Old Weller and the ilk, but it is remarkably smooth at 100 proof. I agree with the previous comment that the flavor seems to change week to week after opening the bottle. Notes of maple and vanilla, yet the smooth finish of a premium cognac. Not one for special friends/occasions, but a loyal standby for weekly sessions!

  10. maybe it’s just me but I find this near the bottom of my bourbon collection. every time I have a splash neat I think it will be better than the last time but it just never is. Extremely harsh at all phases and does not go down smooth at all. If I had to compare it to something it would be to one of my mixers, which is 1/3 the price. Knob Creek is a no for me. I’ll stick with Elijah, buffalo trace, makers 46, hell even wild turkey 101 is better than this and that’s my budget sipper.

  11. I love Knob Creek and drink it often (my wife would say too often) back in the States. Alas, I am currently working as a defense contractor in Qatar where there is one government-sanctioned store that sells liquor and pork products…and the price of a bottle of KC is about $80 USD. So I have learned to get along with Jim Beam WL (about $50). War is hell.

  12. Knob Creek 1000 , my error ,100 proof , an easily accessible superlative bourbon. Pay a little more for something really good.

  13. Hey Josh…….this Knob Creek Small Batch is probably my alltime favorite.
    What are some other boutbons with similar taste profiles to try?

  14. Great review and fully agree-thisshould be in every bourbon fan’s collection.This is the first Beam bourbon I really liked. Booker’s is great but too expensive for regular use. JB Black is alright but just a little too woody for my taste. Haven’t had a chance to compared the original 9 year KC with the current NAS but the current version is still very good-full bodied, sweet, richly spiced and smooth. If I had to pick between this and WT 101 though I’d go with WT, plus save a few bucks.Hard to beat the old bird.

  15. I know I’m late to the game but I love KC. The first time I tried it, it was the cocktail special at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park on the Hudson River ( a Manhattan). I was in town for work and we had reservations for dinner. I had never had a Manhattan OR Knob Creek. I ended up drinking two Manhattan’s that evening and fell in love with it. I now have it on hand at all times. To me it’s a classic tasty bourbon.

Leave a reply

Send this to a friend