Knob Creek Twice Barreled Rye Review
I am unaware of any major distiller that has taken their rye whiskey and did a double barrel treatment with it. And by that I mean taken aged rye whiskey and put it into a newly charred unused barrel. Michter’s does this with their Toasted Barrel Rye, but that barrel does not get charred. Brown Forman is known for their Old Forester 1910 and Woodford Double Oaked (and Double Double), but those are bourbons. But here Jim Beam takes rye whiskey and decides to do a technique that is normally designed to impart additional sweetness to one of the already sweeter ryes on the market.
Being a limited edition, I think we are to believe that this won’t be around for long. But it’s still available on the shelves all around Indiana. However, a large major chain, Big Red Liquors recently had a pricing error (or something) and was selling these for $17 before tax. MSRP on this is normally $45, so naturally people went crazy buying them even if they had no prior interest. To answer your next question, yes, this is how I acquired this bottle.
So how does this taste? Let’s dive in. I sampled this neat and in a glencairn.
Nose: For those of you not familiar with Jim Beam peanut funk, it’s still here on the nose. There’s caramel, vanilla cupcakes and some baked apples. It’s a very sweet nose. For being twice barreled, there’s no more oak than would normally be found in regular Knob Creek Rye.
Palate: A sweet mouthful of peanut butter caramel fudge begins the fun followed by a healthy dose of oak spice. I’m surprised and happy about that one! Actually, there’s a little bit more “spice” that helps turn up the heat a little bit more (but we’re still talking 100 proof) to include cinnamon, rye spice and pepper flakes. There’s also a bit of cocoa powder that is pleasant and not something I typically find in Beam products. Overall, this tastes as sweet as the nose smells.
Finish: The finish is devoid of a lot of rye character. Normally, with “barely legal” ryes like this (right around 51% rye in the mashbill), it will still show through on the finish, but not for this one! It’s still packing a ton of sweets like cinnamon baked apples, liquid caramel apple Jolly Ranchers, gingerbread cookies and sweet mint. In fact, the gingerbread and mint are about the only telltale sign that rye is in the mashbill at all.
Knob Creek’s Limited Edition Rye Whiskey is one of the most inoffensive ryes you’ll find. In fact, if a person who’s never had rye whiskey before were to try this knowing that it’s a rye whiskey, I’m sure they’d declare that they really love rye whiskey. Later on, they’d probably be in absolute shock when trying an MGP or Canadian variety.
The double barreling process on this was not as ill-conceived as I’m probably making it out to be. In fact, Knob Creek’s Single Barrel Rye Whiskey offerings (bottled at 115 proof) are probably one of the most spicy Kentucky Rye Whiskies on the market.
I’m sure that the people behind this one decided that their rye whiskey could use a little toning down in the spice and heat department. However, the double barrel process completely neutered the spice and heat and made this into more of a slightly more mellow and sweet Old Granddad Bottled in Bond bourbon than a rye whiskey. I’d be highly interested to see what the double barrel process does to a super-potent rye like Alberta Canadian, but for now, we can see that what it does to Kentucky Rye is really just turn it into…Kentucky bourbon?
1 | Disgusting | Drain pour (Example: Jeffers Creek)
2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it
3 | Bad | Flawed (AD Laws 4 Grain BiB, Clyde Mays anything)
4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have (Tincup 10 year)
5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary (Larceny, Sazerac Rye)
6 | Very Good | Better than average (Buffalo Trace, OGD BiB)
7 | Great | Well above average (Old Ezra Barrel Proof, Old Weller Antique)
8 | Excellent | Exceptional (Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, Four Roses Barrel Strength)
9 | Incredible | Extraordinary (GTS, 13 Year MGP or Canadian Rye)
10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close (William Larue Weller)