Some spirit brands set out to be everything to everyone. Their goal is certainly to make something good but more importantly something that appeals to the masses.
When making a product like this it’s important to tone down the flavor and keep the alcohol percentage moderate.
Why not also throw in a celebrity endorsement or two as part of the marketing? A celebrity from a major network who hasn’t had any whiff of controversy. Someone who appeals to college kids, soccer moms, and middle-aged men alike.
To make a long story short, market a nice beverage to nice people in an inoffensive way.
There’s nothing wrong with this strategy and plenty of brands have found success with this blueprint. This is not the way things are done at Knob Creek. Knob Creek has mass appeal but they went about it in a different way.
They have an unapologetically bold and powerful array of spirits. Knob Creek Bourbon and Rye Whiskey still go down smoothly but it is also robust with high alcohol content.
A Brief History of Knob Creek
For such a respected name in the liquor world, Knob Creek has not been around for a long time.
Knob Creek was introduced in 1992 by the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. The Jim Beam distillery, now that has been around for a long time.
The history of the Jim Beam brand and distillery goes back to the 1700s. The family of German immigrants moved to Kentucky and began selling whiskey.
After many years of selling their whiskey under many names or even filling customers’ containers, they started using the name Jim Beam in 1943.
Jim Beam is obviously a big name in American bourbon but in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the company wanted to add to its portfolio. That would come in the form of small-batch bourbon.
Crafting small-batch bourbon would allow Jim Beam to charge a higher price and offer a more premium product.
This is when Knob Creek was born. The base offering of Knob Creek is 100 Proof and is aged for at least nine years. Whiskey or Bourbon is a distilled liquor made from corn and other grains that is aged in oak barrels.
In addition to the high proof and additional aging, Knob Creek bottles are dressed up. They feature a distinct rectangular bottle and a wax seal on the cap.
You could say that the move into the upscale bourbon market with Knob Creek was a smart move. Knob Creek has won numerous awards including a Double Gold medal and the title of “Best Bourbon” at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Not only have the accolades come rolling in but Knob Creek has also sold so well that there have been shortages in the past.
Nine years of aging, at a minimum, is a long time but worth the wait for this exemplary bourbon. Thankfully, Knob Creek shortages should be a thing of the past.
Knob Creek is now produced by Beam Suntory, Inc. Beam Suntory, Inc was created when Jim Beam and its portfolio were acquired by Suntory Holdings Ltd. based in Japan.
Beam Suntory, Inc is now the third-largest spirit company in the world. In addition to Jim Beam and Knob Creek the company also makes Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Sauza Tequila, Courvoisier Cognac, Cruzan Rum, and many others.
Knob Creek Price, Variations & Sizes
Knob Creek is known for its collection of high-proof, bold, outstanding bourbons and whiskeys. The current offerings range from 90 Proof all the way up to a staggering 120 Proof.
As the years spent in an oak barrel and rarity goes up so will the Knob Creek price. As Knob Creek is small-batch bourbon you can expect to pay higher prices but compared to some bourbon out there Knob Creek is very reasonably priced.
How much is Knob Creek?
Knob Creek 9-Year Bourbon Whiskey is the starting point and most available version of Knob Creek. As the name indicates it was aged for at least nine years in oak barrels. The final product is 100 Proof (50 percent alcohol by volume).
- 750 ml, From $36.99
- 75 L, From $59.99
Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey isn’t a bourbon at all, it’s a rye whiskey. Bourbon requires the use of over 50 percent corn in the recipe whereas rye whiskey requires using more than 50 percent rye grains.
Rye whiskey has a spicier taste than bourbon which tends to be sweeter. This fine Knob Creek Rye Whiskey is still quite bold and potent at 100 Proof (50 percent alcohol by volume).
- 750 ml, From $36.99
- 75 L, From $59.99
Knob Creek 12-Year Bourbon Whiskey is also known as Knob Creek’s Pre-Prohibition style bourbon. This variety is also 100 Proof (50 percent alcohol by volume) and spends another 3 years in the barrel.
- 750 ml, From $74.99
Knob Creek Single Barrel Select Bourbon is a bourbon created in tandem with local stores. Knob Creek works with the retailer to choose a barrel for bourbon aging that will be a special release.
These single-barrel beauties are high octane at 120 Proof (60 percent alcohol by volume).
- 750 ml, From $49.99
Knob Creek Single Barrel Select Rye is a retailed selected single barrel just like the bourbon version. This rye whisky varietal is 115 Proof (57.5 percent alcohol by volume).
- 750 ml, From $49.99
Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is single barrel bourbon aged 9 years in barrels selected by Knob Creek distillers. The single barrel reserve is 120 Proof (60 percent alcohol by volume).
- 750 ml, From $63.99
Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Smoked Maple is a bit different from all the others. It has a lower alcohol percentage at 90 Proof (45 percent alcohol by volume) and its made with smoked maple.
- 750 ml, From 36.99
Knob Creek Alternatives and Comparisons
Unlike most other spirits, Knob Creek has siblings. You probably didn’t think that was possible. They aren’t siblings in the most traditional sense but Knob Creek has a connection to three other spirits nonetheless.
At around the time Jim Beam was releasing Knob Creek as a small-batch bourbon they also came out with three other small-batch bourbon brands. Those brands are Baker’s Bourbon, Booker’s Bourbon, and Basil Hayden.
Baker’s Bourbon is 107 Proof and aged for seven years but is just about double the cost of the 9-year Knob Creek.
Booker’s Bourbon is a very limited bourbon that only has a few batches released per year. As a result, this sibling is also much higher in price than Knob Creek.
Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon starts out the most similar to Knob Creek but then diverges in its aging and alcohol content. The end product is an 80 Proof bourbon at the same price as Knob Creek.
If for some reason you want to leave the Jim Beam family of products for an alternative then you can’t go wrong with Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon. This is a highly crafted bourbon with a richness that can compare with Knob Creek.
Evan Williams Single Barrel is 86.6 Proof and available at around the same price as the 9-year Knob Creek.
How to Drink Knob Creek
Knob Creek is very versatile. As a supremely high-quality spirit, it can be consumed straight up or neat. This is especially true with some of the rare single-barrel offerings.
Knob Creek is also great with ice or mixed with water or soda. The bold Knob Creek flavors will also shine as the base of an expertly mixed cocktail.
FAQ – Knob Creek
Is Knob Creek gluten-free?
Yes, Knob Creek is considered a gluten-free product. The initial ingredients do contain products with gluten but the distillation process removes any gluten from the final product.
Is Knob Creek vegan?
Knob Creek and all its varieties are vegan. No animal products were used in the liquor or in the process of making it.
Does Knob Creek make beer?
Knob Creek does not make beer but they do play a part in some beer. The barrel aging of beer has taken off in popularity in the last few years.
Breweries like Goose Island and New Belgium have aged their beer in former Knob Creek barrels to add a boozy complexity to their stouts and wild ales.
What cocktails can I make with Knob Creek?
2 Parts Knob Creek Bourbon
½ Part Sweet Vermouth
½ Part Dry Vermouth
1 Dash Aromatic Bitters
Maraschino Cherry (for Garnish)
Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Transfer to a cocktail glass, garnish with a maraschino cherry and serve.
1 ½ Parts Knob Creek Bourbon
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Pinch of Raw Sugar
1 Cherry (for Garnish)
Muddle the sugar and bitters in a rocks glass. Add ice, add Knob Creek Bourbon, stir, garnish with a cherry and enjoy.
2 Parts Knob Creek Rye Whiskey
½ Part Simple Syrup
½ Teaspoon Absinthe
2-3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Lemon Twist (for Garnish)
Chill a rocks glass with ice. Combine the simple syrup and bitters in a separate mixing glass. Add Knob Creek Rye Whiskey and ice to the mixing glass and stir.
Dump the ice from the rocks glass, rinse with absinthe, strain the cocktail mixture into the glass, and add your lemon twist.