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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sipp’n Corn Bourbon Review – Knob Creek 2001 Limited Edition

After the success of Booker’s 25th Anniversary Limited Edition, the feverish anticipation for the Booker’s Rye Limited Edition, and growing popularity of Knob Creek’s private barrel program (with some astounding selections, like the 15 year “Unicorn” from Liquor Barn), a Knob Creek Limited Edition was inevitable.  The “2001” in Knob Creek 2001 Limited Edition refers to the year that Booker Noe distilled and barreled the three batches that make up this limited edition.  At 14 years old, it is well past the nine-year age statement of standard Knob Creek.

Bourbon:
Knob Creek 2001 Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (Batch 1; Bottle No. 10,675)

Distillery:
Jim Beam, Clermont, Kentucky

Age:
14 years

ABV:
50% (100 proof)

Cost:
Suggested Retail:  $129.99 (750 mL)
My cost:  $139.99 (gift shop price)

Disclaimer: The brand managers kindly sent me a sample
for this review, without any strings attached. 
Thank you.

Tasting Notes
Appearance:
Golden amber.

Nose:
The aromas are all warm – gooey caramel, the vanilla you remember from mom’s kitchen, baking spices, leather, and comfortable oak, along with honey and a slight aroma of polished furniture.

Taste:
Consistent with the aromas, Batch 1 lands on the sweeter side, especially on the first impression.  Although far sweeter than any standard or private Knob Creek I’ve had before, as expected from any Knob Creek, it is not one-dimensionally sweet; it transitions to cinnamon, clove, roasted peanuts, and oak.  I will need to compare the three batches, but Batch 1 has great balance and will be hard to beat by the other two batches.

Finish:
Warm and long, lingering with drying oak and far less of the sweet flavors.  This is a barrel-focused finish showing its age, but it is nowhere near over-oaked.  The balance is outstanding.

Bottom Line

While it would be interesting to have tried Knob Creek 2001 Limited Edition at 120 proof (like the private barrel program bottlings), or better yet at barrel proof, I can’t really imagine this batch being better than the 100 proof selected by Fred Noe.  It’s the right proof, the right balance, and the right amount of oak, so stick with drinking this one neat.  Kudos to Beam Suntory for another great Limited Edition, but please, please, please continue to offer longer-aged barrels for private selection.

The price is high when compared to some of the excellent Knob Creek private barrels in the past 12 months, but I still give it a “buy” recommendation (it would be a “back up the truck” recommendation at $90).  There should be plenty of Knob Creek 2001 since there are three batches, so everyone should be able to find this at retail.  Thanks to a friend who was in the right place at the right time, I was able to get a bottle of Batch 1 at the Jim Beam Gift Shop, allowing me to evaluate Knob Creek 2001 Limited Edition beyond the sample, and dig in enough to score.  I waffled between 3.5 and 4.0, and landed on the higher score because of the finish.

Score on The Sipp’n Corn Scale:  4.0

The Sipp’n Corn Scale:
1 – Swill.  I might dump the bottle, but will probably save it for my guests who mix with Coke.
2 – Hits the minimum criteria, but given a choice, I’d rather have something else.
3 – Solid Bourbon with only minor shortcomings.  Glad to own and enjoy.
4 – Excellent Bourbon.  Need to be hyper-critical to find flaws.  I’m lucky to have this.
5 – Bourbon perfection.  I’ll search high and low to get another bottle of this.


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