My love of Knob Creek 9 is deep. It’s a high(er) proof bourbon, with an age statement, at an affordable price. All that and it tastes great — what’s not to love? Well if your main problem with Knob Creek 9 was that at 50% alcohol it was too weak, boy are you going to be thrilled that it has a big brother, with the Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve.

Clocking in at an approaching-cask-strength altitude of 60% ABV, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is not for the faint of bourbon heart. Like its relatively petite kin, it’s got an age statement and flavour profile to match it’s alcohol heft, with a bouquet of strong flavours sure to please lovers of big bourbons.

Here’s what I thought:

Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon Review

This bourbon is far from discreet about its potency. It pours a thick, caramel-esque syrup into the glass, and absolutely clings to the glass after a swirl. Next, on the nose, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve practically shouts at you with big black pepper spiciness, rich toffee, and even a pretty noticeable puff of smoke. There’s also some leather in the background which I can hardly complain about.

The sip is where it’s at. For such a big, burly bourbon (one at the very opposite end of the spectrum than the subtle and refined Pappy Van Winkle) there’s something remarkably approachable about the Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve. It’s very sweet, and might actually lean sweeter than I normally prefer. But it balances that with a distinct spiciness, the heat from it’s alcohol, and a lovely bouquet of background notes like molasses, tobacco and smoke.

The mouthfeel is absolutely luscious, and practically feels like your chewing a mouthful of Greek yogurt. The finish is quite hot, with the alcohol definitely making its presence known — but as it fades you’re left with lingering brown sugar sweetness. It’s just a lovely experience, and a great (and relatively affordable) way to introduce friends to cask strength whisky.

knob creek single barrel reserve

9.2
Score

Final Verdict

A great intro to strong bourbons, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is worth spending a few extra bucks on from time to time.