Showing posts with label Knob Creek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knob Creek. Show all posts

Monday, September 13, 2021

Knob Creek Quarter Oak Review & Tasting Notes





I love it when distillers get curious and want to do something different. It isn't as if there isn't enough choice in the Wonderful World of Whiskey, but I enjoy the whole experimentation aspect. I want to see (and taste) what outside-the-box ideas they can come up with.



When Knob Creek announced they were going to release a small barrel Bourbon, it piqued my curiosity. It involved taking their standard Knob Creek Bourbon, made from a mash of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley, but instead of aging it in a standard 53-gallon barrel, it used what's called a quarter cask, which is only 13 gallons, and let it rest for four years. The smaller barrel gives a greater contact surface area between whiskey and wood. It is one way to accelerate the aging process.



Instead of leaving it at that, Knob Creek then took that quarter cask and blended it with their standard Bourbon aged in a traditional barrel.  The end result is called Knob Creek Quarter Oak.  



Bottled at 100°, Quarter Oak carries no age statement. Suggested retail is $49.99 for a 750ml and this is a limited edition offering. But, does limited edition mean it is worth chasing down?  I'll be honest - while I've enjoyed Knob Creek's limited editions in the past, I've found them overpriced for what they are. That hit a crescendo with the 25th Anniversary Release, which was essentially nothing more than a good store pick of Knob Creek 120 at three times the price. 



While the bottle is a media sample, it was passed along by a fellow reviewer and I did not get it directly from Knob Creek. Time to #DrinkCurious and find out if it is anything special...


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Quarter Oak appeared as a dull, golden amber. It left a thin rim that created fat, slow legs to drop back to the pool.


Nose:  The first thing to hit my nostrils was rose perfume. It was a bit overwhelming. However, once I got past that, I found a blend of dried fruit and caramel. Underneath that, leather was evident. When I inhaled through my mouth, apple and pear caressed my palate.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was thin and coating. Thick, sweet vanilla and cream greeted the front of my palate. That led to dry oak and leather at my mid-palate. Then, on the back, it became black pepper and barrel char. 


Finish:  I found it long and building. It started with black pepper and finished with very dry oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I am a big fan of Knob Creek 120.  I've said a few times that it is one of the most underrated Bourbons around. While it is a single-barrel Bourbon, I use it as a bellwether for other Knob Creek releases. I found Quarter Oak to be very atypical of what I've found in Knob Creek 120s, especially concerning the sweetness level at the front, and it was enjoyable. While this is slightly more expensive than Knob Creek 120 and is only 100°, it isn't obnoxiously priced like the 25th Anniversary or the 2001 Series. In all, Knob Creek Quarter Oak comes in as a net positive and earns my coveted Bottle rating.  Cheers!




My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System:
  • Bottle = Buy it
  • Bar = Try it first
  • Bust = Leave it 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs that you do so responsibly.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Knob Creek 120 "Cellars WS" Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


I'm always honored to have a store ask me to review one of their private barrels. I do realize that I've been reviewing quite a few of these picks as of late and that's just how the rotation comes up.


Today, I've got a sample of Knob Creek 120 Bourbon from Cellars Wine & Spirits in Neenah, Wisconsin. This one was aged nine years before being barreled. If you're unfamiliar with Knob Creek, this is a Beam Suntory product and the number refers to the proof. Knob Creek is one of those brands that enjoys an almost cult-like following. And, if you are familiar with Knob Creek, it is in the process of going through a price increase. Cellars sells this Bourbon for $39.99 and this may be one of the last ones you see at about this price point. 


I'd like to thank Cellars for providing me with a sample of their pick in exchange for a no-holds-barred, honest review.


In my Glencairn glass, this presented as a fairly typical Knob Creek 120. It was a bright amber and left a thin rim on the glass that created thick, fat legs.


Aromas of candied oranges and butterscotch made for a very interesting nose. There was nothing else that I could pick up, and for Knob Creek to have only two notes on the nose is a curiosity, especially when there is no oak, which is also a typical note. When I inhaled through my mouth, I picked up what reminded me only of a creamsicle - all orange and vanilla. 


This Cellar's pick had a mouthfeel that was thin, oily and coating. At the front of my palate, it was simply heavy orange cream, again, just like a creamsicle. Mid-palate, it switched to cereal and vanilla. On the back, it was a punch of clove. 


A very long and spicy finish from the clove remained, and the orange cream snuck back for yet another round. When the orange cream finally faded, it left behind a pleasant rye spice.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I've tasted many, many picks of Knob Creek 120 and truth be told, to stumble on one that doesn't perform well is like finding a needle in a haystack. This particular barrel may be the most unusual one I've ever tasted. I pick up fruits and vanilla from Knob Creek all the time, the fruit and the level of vanilla differ. But I can't say that I've had one where the orange flavor was this dominating. Plus, for $39.99, I don't see where you can go wrong. This one deserves my coveted Bottle rating.  Cheers! 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Rat Pick - Knob Creek 120


Barrel picking is a blast. I've been involved in many, many picks of various Bourbons and Ryes. I've never, though, had my face appear on a bottle's label (I'm the one in the middle). There's also Troy Mancusi, owner of The Speakeasy_WI and Matt Bents, owner of Riley's Wines of the World.  We had a great time picking this 14-year old Knob Creek 120.

This is the second-best whiskey I've ever picked, the first being a Four Roses OBSO... and to prove how excellent this Knob Creek is, the entire barrel sold out in three days!

I had my own write-up, but Matt Bents did a great job... here are his notes:


Aromas of maraschino cherry, crème brûlée, toasted hazelnuts, vanilla, orange peel, and fennel. Slight sweetness on the palate with foundations of crème brûlée, clove, black pepper and mint. Honeyed baked apples, cinnamon, and hazelnut layer on more complexities. Adding a few drops of water focuses the aromatics but amplified the baking spices. Even at 120 proof, this drinks best full-strength. Finish is off-dry with lots of black pepper, cherry, vanilla, and cinnamon evolving as the warmth of the whiskey continue to shine.

I'll add that there is no need whatsoever to proof this one down. If you were lucky enough to get a bottle, congratulations!