Review: Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Single Barrel Bourbon

Review: Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Single Barrel Bourbon

25 years ago Booker Noe created the Knob Creek brand. Today we’ve seen KC undergo a few changes (most notably dropping its longtime age statement), but it’s still sticking with its “pre-Prohibition style” under the auspices of current master distiller Fred Noe. For this limited edition 25th anniversary release, Knob Creek is bottling its spirit at cask strength for the first time ever — and, as a single barrel release, it’s unblended, too.

Compared side by side with the original (with 9 year old age statement) Knob Creek, a few things immediately spring to the fore. There’s more orange peel and a stronger allspice element on the nose in the 25th Anniversary bottling. The wood influence is aromatically stronger, too, though it’s never overpowering on the nose.

The palate’s heat is immediately evident: At over 61% abv, it’s got way more alcohol than rack Knob Creek at 50%. The bitter orange peel is even more noticeable here, along with notes of well-aged wine, red pepper, and intense, ginger-heavy baking spice. Water is a great add: It tempers the hefty alcoholic core and allows more of the wood-driven vanilla, caramel, and chocolate to spring forward. The finish is lasting, complex, and keeps the focus on pepper and wood, with just a touch of toasted marshmallow.

Ready to sip like you’re on the frontier, but considerably upscale? This is probably what those fatcats get to drink in Westworld.

122.1 proof. Barrel date 2/28/2004.


Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Single Barrel Bourbon




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Jeff on August 19, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    It’s amazing the Single Barrell release by KC is not cask strength at 120proof.
    Excellent whiskey.

  2. Ken6 on January 13, 2018 at 10:07 am

    So tonight, I am having dinner, and decided to review Knob Creek.
    I ordered a neat one, and my gorgeous waitress brought me a double…

    First Nose: This immediately got my attention as a good all around Bourbon… Sweet aromas of corn and oak char .. and hint of cherry,

    First Sip: Smooth, sweet, and I can feel and taste the alchohol burn but it is still pleasant on the toungue. The oak finish lingers and transitions to a bitterness.. and fades into an oily creaminess.

    2nd Nose: More cherry… Less oaky…

    2nd Sip was a little larger… Chewed it a bit… May have been too soon for that… Left me with a kind of an astringent after taste on the outside edges of the toungue…

    This is real Kentucky Bourbon… It is very good, but a bit strong on the deeper darker notes and that is usually considered a good thing.

    Molasses hints come out after a few minutes…

    3rd Nose: More cherry, molasses cookies… Some carmel…

    3rd Sip: Its growing on ne… Still a little heavy on alchohol, but it reminds me of a bakery… Freash bread and cakes…
    Carrot cake…

    I am glad She brought me a double… Its worth my time to sit and sip it until the glass is empty.

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