This whiskey is a core bourbon of the Jim Beam small batch collection, which includes Knob Creek, Booker’s, Basil Hayden’s, and Baker’s – and this whiskey is the oldest of the lot at 9 years (though it is soon losing its age statement which means younger whiskies can make their way in). A small batch whisky means that the whiskey is composed of batches which have a smaller number of barrels (typically of higher grade whiskey) produced in a smaller quantity than the typical higher volume products, though I’m sure a “small” batch at Jim Beam is not that small. The whiskey is named after Knob Creek, which was the home of Abraham Lincoln when he was growing up.
Nose: Light and floral rye influences sit above some more hefty maple, oak, potato, flambeed banana, and corn husks. The nose, I find, is a touch yeasty – as I often find with bourbons. It smells quite sweet, and has fruitiness in the “stone fruit” category – cherries, peaches, as well as some fruity and nutty notes like apple seeds. Vanilla just leaps out if you let it sit a bit. 26/30 (87%)
Taste: Lots of corn upfront, with the fruit – cherries, apples, and peaches – coming in the middle before oak and spices take the finish. In that sense, the palate is controlled and has movement – which I quite like – and it leads into the finish well. 50% ABV also seems to fit this bourbon – it is about right, without water, and it’s not very hot. Very easy to drink – it balances the sweetness and the spice nicely, with good body and complexity. 27.5/30 (91%)
Finish: Corn, with a background of oak and light smoke – and nutmeg, cloves, peaches, and apple seeds. Slightly drying with the tannins, and quite sweet – but enjoyable, with decent length. 18/20 (90%)
Conclusion: Very drinkable – at times a bit simple but it is balanced and rich with a good assortment of flavours. It may come off as a bit sweet to some, but I certainly don’t have any trouble with this. It is, also, a favorite mixing bourbon of many well-established cocktail bars. 18/20 (90%)