Beam Suntory just hit a new milestone with the launch of 18-year-old Knob Creek bourbon. Brand Knob Creek – Favorite bourbon From countless bartenders and whiskey geeks around the world – they have produced some wonderful bottles in their long life, but this is by far the oldest and rarest in many ways since its inception.
It is unlikely that there is a bourbon drinker today who has not consumed a Knob Creek product at least once. Knob Creek was one of the four original members of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection, which originally featured Bookers, Basil Hayden, Baker and Knob Creek. Baker has since switched to a single barrel producer, although the distillery keeps it as a sort of group member (we’d love to see this small-batch product come back to market, by the way).
In three decades, the Knob Creek brand has been the label adorning a number of successful bottles, and arguably nothing more than the 9-year-old flagship brand you might have on your bar now. The lifetime statement briefly disappeared from this fluid during the worst of the bourbon “boom” period (which we’re still seeing) but returned a few years ago when production started catching up in demand.
Knob Creek has seen flavored releases, specialty barrel finishes, single barrels, and in the last few years 12 and 15 year age data (as with Van Winkle Bourbon family, both 12 and 15 are excellent, it’s up to your taste which one is better). In fact, the entire wallet has been quite impressive over these decades, with distinctive oak quart bottles and smoked maple bottles giving the most famous bottles a run for their money.
With Knob Creek debuting a limited-edition 18-year-old bourbon, the Beam wallet is one step closer to matching that famous “other” line of bourbon that’s getting everyone’s attention.
18 years is a huge achievement for any brand, but especially for a brand like Beam. Seventh Generation Master Distiller’s Fred Noe said in a statement that his father Booker Noe was “ahead of his time at creating innovative expressions with big, bold flavors that defined pre-Prohibition whiskey.” This new liquid for 18 years, “a nod to his vision and commitment to quality and craftsmanship, I know this is the whiskey he would be proud to serve.”
Pride is exactly what the Noe family should be. 18-Year Packed in 100 proof, with a gorgeous red tint. The distillery claims aromas of brown sugar, caramel, and oak, with sweet vanilla, baking spice, and caramelized oak on the palate. The finish is said to be warm and spicy, with hints of floral and fruity.
Beam Suntory hasn’t shared details about the volume of whiskey produced for the 18-year-old Knob Creek version of bourbon, but we’re assuming the numbers are fairly small. It’s unclear from the data if this is a one-off or a regular release, but if 15 is any indication, it’s not the last time we’ll see the number 18 adorning the bottle.
For $170, it’s definitely worth the time to try it out—especially if you can find it at close to retail. But even when retailing twice, this 18 will go toe-to-toe with plenty of other highly desirable limited-edition bourbons at higher retail and aftermarket price points, as well as lower ages.
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