In news that will certainly send a corner of the bourbon world into a tizzy, especially fans of the Jim Beam bourbon house style, the company’s Knob Creek brand has unveiled a new expression, the oldest it’s ever released. Knob Creek 18 Year will supplant the previous Knob Creek 15 Year in that category, offering an extra-mature expression of Knob Creek, effectively the flagship of Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. The expression arrives at the same time that Beam is also celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Knob Creek brand—one wonders if another, “30th Anniversary Bourbon” is also forthcoming. This one carries the big MSRP ($170) that you would expect, and will begin hitting shelves immediately.
The limited edition (big surprise) Knob Creek 18 is another step in the line extension that began with the excellent Knob Creek 12 a few years back, after the flagship Knob Creek Bourbon regained its 9-year age statement after having lost it for a handful of years. One figures that these 18-year-old barrels must have been treated with special care to avoid them reading as overly oaked. Some critics found the 15 year old expression to be verging on overtaken by oak, so the 18 Year Old may actually find itself in for something of a tough grading assignment.
“As we celebrate 30 years of Knob Creek, it’s clear to me that Dad was ahead of his time in creating innovative expressions with big, bold flavors that defined pre-prohibition whiskey,” said Fred Noe, Booker Noe’s son and Seventh Generation Master Distiller, in a statement. “This new 18 Year Old liquid is a nod to his vision and commitment to quality and craftsmanship, and I know this is a whiskey he’d be proud to serve. I’m honored to further his legacy with Knob Creek’s oldest and boldest expression yet.”
Here are the official tasting notes from the brand:
Color: Rich copper tones with auburn hues.
Aroma: Brown sugar and aged oak, with notes of char and caramel.
Taste: Full-bodied with notes of caramelized oak and hints of sweet vanilla and baking spices.
Finish: Warm finished with spice and slight floral and fruit notes.
We’ll bring you a full review of Knob Creek 18 when we get a chance to sample it in the near future.