Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve can easily become your new go-to bourbon. It has everything that fans have come to love about the premium bourbon made by Jim Beam, it simply comes from hand-selected barrels to showcase the best the whiskey distiller has to offer. This whiskey offers the robust flavors expected of a 120-proof spirit and is considered by many bourbon aficionados to be one of the best bourbons in America.
What Is Single Barrel Reserve?
Single Barrel Reserve is a refined selection of the same whiskey that is used to produce Knob Creek. The difference is in the number of barrels from which the whiskey is sourced.
To create the standard expression of Knob Creek, many barrels are selected from the stock of finished whiskeys available from the Clermont, Kentucky distillery. These are then blended together to create that signature Knob Creek taste many people have come to love.
In the case of the Single Barrel Reserve, individual barrels are selected for their unique flavors and special nuances that make the whiskey just a little bit better than the others. The whiskey is not blended and the flavor profile for each batch of Single Barrel Reserve can change based on the barrel chosen to bottle at that time.
Single Barrel Reserve is bottled at 120 proof (60 percent ABV) as opposed to Knob Creek's 100 proof. Both are aged in new charred American oak barrels for nine years and part of Jim Beam's Small Batch Collection of whiskeys, alongside Baker's, Basil Hayden's, and Booker's. This bottle does have a premium price tag, but it's not unreasonable.
Though no bottle of Knob Creek goes unnoticed, Single Barrel Reserve packs an even bigger punch. That's to be expected from a high-alcohol whiskey, and it's evident with the first whiff. This bourbon's nose holds hints of caramel, cinnamon, and vanilla. When a few drops of cool water are added, you'll find tantalizing notes of spicy rye, warm oak, and a bright honey.
The first taste is also classic Knob Creek. It has a rich, warm body with fascinating dark chocolate undertones against those rye and cinnamon flavors. The complexity doesn't stop there, as you're treated to warming vanilla and oak, with a delightful nuttiness. The finish is long and complex, a reminder that you're enjoying a remarkable bourbon.
Drink It With Water
Bottled really close to cask strength, Knob Creek Single Barrel really is best enjoyed with a little water. Like many whiskeys, this will open up the flavors and subtle nuances perfectly. Keep in mind that bourbons of this strength are designed to get this treatment, so don't shy away from making this into a bourbon and water.
The whiskey can also stand up to a variety of cocktails without fear of it getting lost in the mix. That said, it is best to treat it with care and consider mixed drinks that allow the whiskey to shine.
When deciding which recipes to use, think of the simplest bourbon cocktails. The old-fashioned is a perfect candidate that gently dresses up the whiskey while mellowing it out with ice. For a simpler version, Knob Creek's old-fashioned is a good choice as well, adding just a touch of sweetness and a dash of bitters. Additionally, if you want a really intriguing drink, try the old-fashioned 101. The recipe was designed for Wild Turkey, but this bourbon offers a similar bold flavor and would be fascinating against the apple cider, sage, and saffron.
Another ideal mix for this bourbon is the Manhattan, an icon in the bourbon world. However, you might find that the "perfect" version of this cocktail is a better fit for this stronger whiskey. Adding sweet vermouth to the mix does wonders and creates a perfectly mellow sipper.
If you want something a little taller and more refreshing, Single Barrel Reserve can definitely hold its own in soda mixed drinks like the whiskey highball or John Collins. Keep in mind that you can make these drinks short as well; simply pour just a couple of ounces of soda to avoid over-diluting the whiskey.