Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon – Review

Knob Creek 9 Year Old Single Barrel BourbonKnob Creek Single Barrel Reserve 9 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

120 Proof

Price Point: $35 – $45 for 750 ML

Distiller: Knob Creek Distillery



It would be much more appropriate to post a review of an Irish whiskey today, as today is St. Patrick’s Day, but alas I do not have an Irish review lined up.  Oh well…

Anyway, a couple months ago, I posted the first link to this blog on my personal Facebook profile.  My Uncle Chris asked me about my thoughts on Knob Creek, and I quickly told him I wasn’t a fan.  Jokingly (at least I hope so!), he dismissed the rest of my authority on reviewing whiskey since I didn’t like his favorite bourbon.

I’ve decided to revisit the Single Barrel 9 Year Old and figure out once and for all where I stand with my uncle . . . I mean, Knob Creek!



The nose is harsh at a remarkable 60% ABV for a non-uncut/unfiltered (AKA cut/filtered) whiskey.  Once past that, it does pretty well with a lot of corn being picked up.  A lot of oak here, too, which is something I really like in the nose of a bourbon.

The taste is surprisingly smooth, and will clear your sinuses right up!  Again, be aware that this is a bourbon bottled at 120 proof.  The oak is still there, and to my tastes, the most dominating taste in Knob Creek.

The finish is long and spicy, leaving your tongue tingling for a bit.


Rating & Recommendations

Okay, so maybe I was a bit off about Knob Creek.  Of course, I don’t have the regular expression (100 proof) to compare this to.  I rate this stuff a solid 81 out of 100.

Drink it neat if you can manage the alcohol content, but a few drops of water can help tame the beast and make this stuff enjoyable.

As with my review of Ardbeg, first impressions aren’t always 100% accurate.  Sometimes you have to give whiskey a couple tries before you make up your mind.




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  1. I’ve never had the single barrel, but standard Knob Creek is also all about the oak. I know you like Eagle Rare, and I think standard Knob Creek is kindof like Eagle Rare with the oak and intensity cranked up to maximum. The bitter oak can be pretty extreme in Knob. But, other reviews I’ve seen – notably Sour Mash Manifesto – seem to imply a fairly big difference between the standard and the single barrel. Anyway, nice review!

    1. Thanks, as always, for the comment, Ryan. Yes, I do like Eagle Rare 10 Year Old a lot. Very different, in my opinion, than Knob Creek other than the fact that they are both oak-heavy.


        • Dave on July 11, 2012 at 4:37 pm
        • Reply

        Woodford Reserve is actually too smooth. It is so smooth the flavors are ignored. Why would you drink Whiskey neat if you’re after Koolaid? Whiskey, like scotch, (in my opinion) is best enjoyed when it is totally in your face. There is a huge difference between taste and harshness…. A great example of an in your face whiskey that sports phenomenal taste without the harshness is Bookers. Note, you will be playing with anywhere from 125 and 132 proof so it will be STRONG…. Definitely the king of the Beam lineup.

        1. I think there’s a time and place for all types of whiskey. Surely you wouldn’t drink Booker’s or Stagg every night? It would become boring over time. I prefer Woodford Reserve over Knob Creek because it is simple and easy-to-drink, which allows me to relax a bit.

          I’ll be posting my review of Booker’s on Saturday which could perhaps give you a little insight into my “philosophy” on whiskey.

          Thanks for the comment.


    • Bill on March 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm
    • Reply

    Ryan – I tripped over Knob Creek while in Orlando a few years ago. I agree on the sharp alcohol bit, but over rocks, the ice adds just enough water and chill to tame it a bit and let the flavors come through. Not stuff to be taken neat, but still a reputable whiskey.

    1. Definitely a reputable whiskey.

      Thanks for the comment!


    • Uncle Paul on March 19, 2012 at 1:31 am
    • Reply

    Hey Ryan,

    Have you given Woodford Reserve a try? I’d be interested in your opinion.
    Knob has been liked by Chris and me for a long time. The WR is a little
    smoother and a little pricier. But, it’s a tasty bourbon on rocks. And, I like
    the bottle. It’s also smooth.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Uncle Paul.

      Yes, I have had Woodford Reserve many times (Friday night being the most recent!). It is absolutely smoother than Knob Creek – I prefer it between the two.


    • Keith on April 27, 2014 at 12:22 am
    • Reply

    For an everyday bourbon this is the perfect one! As a bourbon drinker I tend to like the higher proofs and this is no exception, however I do agree with the other gentleman about Bookers you can’t drink it everyday (even though it is my favorite bourbon). Knob Creek over one or two cubes…. PERFECT!

    • MikeA on November 16, 2019 at 10:00 pm
    • Reply

    To each is own, but as a Knob Creek lover I think the single barrel reserve is horrid. Basically, it tastes just like every other crap bourbon out there except with a sharp cut that overpowers to the point of tasting like straight alcohol. I may as well be drinking All Clear. The thing that sets Knob Creek apart from all other bourbons is the fullness and suitably of flavors. In fact, it is my opinion that Knob Creek is not only the best bourbon, but the only bourbon that taste like bourbon was meant to taste. The single barrel reserve, however, is harsh and tasteless by lacking the burnt wood, caramel, and vanilla notes that make regular Knob Creek so enjoyable. I can’t believe I paid $12 more for a bottle of this swill, which I will be pouring down the kitchen drain. There goes $60. Should have stuck to my regular Knob Creek instead of believing all these bogus reviews about the single barrel reserve, which is night and day apart from regular Knob Creek and not in a good way.

  1. […] involve some kind of Philadelphia Flyers apparel.  Surely I wouldn’t enjoy two fingers of Knob Creek, let alone know anything about the brand!  Yet, that’s the impression that I get from time […]

  2. […] is part of Jim Beam’s small batch collection, with the other expressions being Baker’s, Knob Creek, and Booker’s.  They are each unique in their own way with various ages and mash bills.  […]

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  4. […] right; the Japanese who I had assumed would craft their whisky in the style of an Eagle Rare or Knob Creek, were emulating Glenlivet and the Dalmore.  I certainly can’t complain, it just wasn’t […]

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