Back in May, a few of the staff made our annual trip to Jim Beam to pick out the store’s very own single barrel of Knob Creek Private Reserve. I enjoyed the trip last year so I was excited to visit again this year!
Paul, Natasha and I got a really early start and made it to the distillery mid-morning. We noticed a few improvements for the whole process and tour this year! We enjoyed a nice tram ride to the warehouse (K) where it was a nice cool temperature inside. Our barrels were lined up and ready to go along with some nice actual glassware (nice touch as that was our only concern last year).
The fun part began when we got to take turns with the hammer and hit out the bunghole. After a few tries each, (maybe a few more for Natasha…) our barrels were opened one-by-one and samples poured straight from the barrel. We tasted through, noting what we liked and didn’t like. For my tastings, I liked to taste straight barrel proof with nothing added and then add a drop or two of water. Adding the water brings out the intricacies of the taste and also cuts the alcohol just a bit to allow your tastebuds to more accurately taste the whiskey.
The fun part about tasting barrels with fellow employees is trying to balance everyone’s taste preferences while judging what is best for the store. We had no shortage of debate with picking this barrel. For my tastes, we actually went with one that I initially did not prefer when I first tried it. After discussion of the three, I started to pick-up more intricate flavors and thought about what the Midtown customer would want. At first, I liked the more mellow, vanilla, sweet barrel but switched to the other because we know that a Midtown customer is looking for a little MORE from their whiskey.
From our tasting notes:
It’s got great intricate flavors, fruitiness/fruitcake notes on the front and a big, bold, drier mouthfeel. We loved the vanilla on the finish and there was even a hint of orange peel in there. We think it’ll cut down nicely to 120 proof!
After picking the barrel and helping roll it onto the truck, we were taken on a tour of the distillery. As with last year, the tour is nice. They’ve built a small production distillery where you get hands on action throughout the process, including dumping our barrel and actually putting the Midtown placard on each bottle as it went through the bottling line.
It was exciting to pick out this bottle of Knob Creek for the store and I hope all y’all whiskey fans enjoy it as well. There aren’t that many 120 proof bottles out there and this one stands out!
Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve
Fruitiness/fruitcake notes on the front end
Vanilla on the finish
Light floral notes
Touch of orange peel
Lot ID 05C23
Rack Tier 2
Barrel Proof: 128.7