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
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel:
Taste of Tradition
For this edition of a single-barrel tour, I’m going to jump ahead in my tour schedule to tell you about our Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel because…
We are excited to have this IN STOCK NOW!
Our half-day trip to the distillery was once again an entertaining and informative experience. We arrived in time for our lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s. Now, it may sound cliche and touristy to eat lunch at the distillery restaurant, but this was definitely worth it. We were seated around a large table with 8 or so other guests. As we sat down, a wonderful retired lady talked to us about the experience, food and distillery. She was very knowledgeable and sweet.
The food came and was a fantastic mix of southern fare: fried chicken, Jack Daniels apples, mac and cheese, fried okra.. and on and on… all served family style via a lazy susan. And once we were stuffed with the main course, we were treated to Jack Daniels chocolate pie!
And then we were on to the whiskey! Now, much like other distilleries, Jack Daniel’s blends their whiskeys in order to find the perfect “Jack” taste. That is why picking out a single barrel is exciting: we pick one barrel that we think is perfect for our customer and the bottles are all consistent with that taste.
We were welcomed into the newish tasting room (they now offer tasting tours!) and were seated in front of a selection of three barrels and a couple of guides.
Tasting these barrels was a bit different as they were already taken down from barrel strength alcohol content to bottle strength. That meant that we did not have to add a bit of water in order to bring the spiciness (or “heat”) down.
It was four of us this time so we had a good number of opinions and came to a majority agreement. One was eliminated right away and we had some haggling over the other two.
First, barrel number 1745:
Nice milder tasting bottle which had some “oakiness” to it and light vanilla notes. It left a nice lingering, spicy finish. Had a sweet, tart aroma to it
I thought this was good but I wanted something a little different with a little more to it.
Next, barrel number 1760:
Mild aroma. It had a dryer caramel taste with a lighter spicy finish.
This was my least favorite. While I enjoy a nice caramel whiskey, I don’t think that’s what our customers would want. I wanted something more complex… which leads to…
OUR CHOICE: Barrel 1757:
Had a mid-mild nose to it. A good mix of caramel, woodiness and a great oakiness on the mid-palette. It starts out milder but ends with a lingering spicy finish on the side of the tongue. It is also not overly sweet.
Overall, I loved this one from the start. It has a lot going on and a lot that is unique to this whiskey in comparison to our other single barrels. I think the oakiness and spicy finish make this barrel fantastic.
So, if you like Jack Danie’ls, and want something unique and great tasting or need a souvenir unique to Nashville, this is highly recommended!
Single Barrel Tour with Matt the Beer Guy
This is part of an on-going series of single barrel whiskey picked exclusively for Midtown.
Interested in whiskey? Be sure to check out Nashville Whiskey Festival!
Single Barrel Tour with Matt the Beer Guy
This is the first post in an on-going series of single barrel whiskey picked exclusively for Midtown.
Jim Beam: Knob Creek Single Barrel
An Introductory Experience
I enjoyed the trip to Jim Beam for my first barrel tasting and selection. The whiskey was great to try and meeting Master Distiller Fred Noe was a trip. It’s impressive to be met by the master distiller and see that his office is the first one as you enter.
Now, I was warned about Fred: He makes no changes to his style for anyone, meaning, he’s going to be the good ol’ boy from the country, cussing and all. He know his stuff though and was fun and interesting to talk to.
After introductions, we headed to the barrel warehouse for the tasting. It was awesome to be let into the storehouse to see all of the stored barrels and smell all of the aging bourbon. We were presented with 3 barrels, each stored in a different location but *I believe* aged for the same length of time. One of the storehouse managers showed us how to hammer out the bunghole and pour the samples. We were set to taste!
Now comes the point of contention from Midtown: We were presented with plastic cups. As a wine, spirits and craft beer store, we pride ourselves and appreciate the appropriate glassware. Unfortunately, this falls short. That being said, the bourbon itself did not.
The fun of tasting straight from the barrel, is that the bourbon is barrel strength, aka not watered down. The Knob Creek we tasted was all above 100 proof and thus pretty hot. That is why Fred recommended we add a bit of water in order to bring the simulated proof roughly down to single barrel bottle standards. We tried them barrel strength first and then added a bit of water.
My favorite was one of the smoother bourbons as I love the carmel and vanilla notes that I associate with “smoothness”. That explains my taste for Woodford Reserve. The last of the barrels, we all agreed, was definitely not up too par; it tasted less complex than once would expect. The third barrel had a decent bit more spice and good depth. We decided upon this barrel as once our customers would love.
After deciding, we were taken for lunch and given a tour. The new touring facilities and visitors’ center are impressive. They have a mini distillery setup just for touring and it gives a fun, interactive aspect to the process.
Overall, my first single barrel tasting was a fun and informative experience. I hope you like the Knob Creek. We’ll let you know when it arrives.