The Bourbon summer season seems to get going in early May with the Kentucky Derby. So last night I opened a bottle of Knob Creek, which I hadn’t tasted for a while. And I found that Knob Creek has stayed true to its signature style with this Single Barrel Reserve. The label on the flask-style bottle also mentions it is small batch, aged nine years in the mild Kentucky air.

 Woody, grassy and earthy notes follow from the aroma onto the palate, adding vanilla and caramel along the way. More wood and caramel appear in the finish, with a touch of smoke from the barrels layered in. At the beginning and end the heat of higher alcohol become apparent: this spirit is 120 proof. That and a couple other elements make this bourbon stand out: the woody notes are more cedar than oak, for me; and there’s pronounced fruit in the flavor and finish, which softens the spirit and ties everything together. (Around $44; media sample)

Recommended. BSE

About The Author

Becky Sue Epstein
International Editor

Becky Sue Epstein is Palate Press’s International Editor. An experienced writer, editor, broadcaster, and consultant in the fields of wine, spirits, food, and travel, her work has appeared in many national and international publications including Intermezzo Magazine, Fine Wine & Liquor, Art & Antiques, Luxury Golf & Travel, Food + Wine, www.wine-pages.com and Wine Spectator. She began her career as a restaurant reviewer for the Los Angeles Times while working in film and television. Epstein is also the author of several books on wine, spirits, and food, including Champagne: A Global History; Brandy: A Global History, and Strong, Sweet and Dry: A Guide to Vermouth, Port, Sherry, Madeira, and Marsala.

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