Note: A Sample was provided by Knob Creek for this review.  We appreciate the willingness of the team at Knob Creek to provide this sample with no strings attached.
KnobCreek-2001-3

Turn back the clock.  It’s 2001, and the legendary Booker Noe still holds the reins of Jim Beam Brands.  His son, Fred, is ready to step into a leading role at the Clermont behemoth. His first project: Knob Creek.  Fred lays down some barrels that same year and they sit, silently, for nearly 15 years.  Meanwhile, bourbon explodes.  Knob Creek explodes.  Booker Noe sadly passes away. In 2004, Fred becomes Master Distiller at Jim Beam. He turns the label into one of the leading small batch premium brands on the planet.  The barrels continue to rest.  Fred Noe becomes one of the biggest names and the biggest personality in the industry.  The barrels rest.  Fast forward to 2016, and the powers at Jim Beam realize they are sitting on gold…  14+ year old barrels of prime Knob Creek juice and bourbon is at an all time high.  Enter Knob Creek 2001.

Knob Creek 2001 Vital Stats
KnobCreek-2001◾ABV: 50% (Proof: 100º)
◾Mash Bill:75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Barley
◾Barrel Entry Proof: 125
◾Barrel Char Level: #4
◾Age: 14 Years
◾Producer: Jim Beam, Clermont, KY
◾Price: $129.99 MSRP
◾Availability: Extremely Rare, one time offering

 

What it is:

From Jim Beam:

Knob Creek 2001_bottleMore than 20 years ago, Booker Noe restored the standards for real bourbon when he introduced the world to Knob Creek® Bourbon – a true pre-prohibition style bourbon made with strength, care and patience. He put his heart and soul into cultivating the big, full flavor that Knob Creek is known for and took every care to ensure the tradition would continue long beyond his years. In 2001, following years of tough love and training, Booker passed the torch of Knob Creek Bourbon to his son, Fred Noe. It was Fred’s first assignment – his first bourbon love – and he has carried on the tradition, quality and craftsmanship that defines Knob Creek ever since.  

Started by Booker and finished by Master Distiller Fred Noe, Knob Creek 2001 Limited Edition Bourbon is a tribute to the family tradition of passionate craftsmanship and uncompromising quality that has been passed down for generations. Made with extra patience at over 14 years of age – our oldest to-date – it is the ultimate expression of the big, full flavor of Knob Creek.

Knob Creek 2001_bottle with boxPackaging:

Beautifully packaged in a standard Knob Creek bottle with special screen printed label, this is a great looking addition to any bourbon bar.  Especially considering the nice wooden display box.

Appearance:

KnobCreek-2001-4Deep russet, golden brown, this looks deep and rich in the Glencairn.

Aroma:

The 14 years are on full display here with heavy, smooth oak on the nose followed by vanilla, ripe bananas, and caramel.

Flavor:

The oak and wood carry through from the nose to the palate and meld with strong vanilla and sweet cinnamon,   There are some sweet fruits including bananas and burnt sugar.  The tell-tale Beam yeast is still prominent, so the Knob Creek DNA is clearly evident.

Finish:

Long, spicy, and satisfying, this bourbon drinks like a higher proof whiskey than its 100 proof would indicate. The primary flavors that linger are oak and tannins, with the sweet flavors dissipating very quickly in favor of the barrel notes.

KnobCreek-2001-2Synopsis:

This is a very enjoyable sip.  While it’s not a completely different animal than the standard 9 year Knob Creek, the 6 years of extra age are an improvement here.  Any longer, and the oak might have overpowered the sweet vanilla.  I’ve tasted two different barrels of 15 year old Knob Creek before, one that was slightly over oaked, and one that was nearly perfect, similar to this.  I think this can be attributed to excellent blending on the part of the folks at Jim Beam.  If I had one complaint- and this is nitpicking- I wish the banana flavor and caramel had carried through a little more strongly to the finish.  But again, that’s nitpicking.

glencairn-amazonIn today’s day and age, 14 years is exceptionally old for a bourbon, and at $129.99 (I’ve actually only seen it closer to $150), this is not relatively high in price for a 100 proof 14 year old whiskey.  It’s priced similar to the Rhetoric offerings from Diageo, which are bottled at 20-22 years, and are clearly over oaked and watered down to proofs that strip it of its character.  Knob Creek 2001 doesn’t suffer those faults.  It’s the right age, the right proof, and pretty much the best example of Knob Creek that’s been bottled to date.  This one is probably worth the price to collectors or any bourbon geek with money to burn.

ModernThirst.com Score: 91 out of 100 Points.

What does that score mean?

 

 

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Knob Creek 2001

91 Excellent

The right age, the right proof and at a price that, in today's climate, is at least competitive. This is a really nice expression of an iconic label and worth a sip.

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About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder, Editor-in Chief, and official Bourbon-o-Phile for ModernThirst.com. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country. He attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. Since college, he has dabbled in beer, bourbon, wine tasting, beer making, and currently works in finance. He has also been published on Liquor.com. He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in cities across the country. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at Bill@ModernThirst.com.

6 Comments

  1. Assuming the price is for 750ml, the price per gallon is $650.00 and maybe some tax. Somebody has lost their mind, and it is not me.

  2. Picked up all three in the 2001 14 y/of series. I have seen other blogs indicating the bottle release was going to be around 12,000 bottles per batch (Batch 1, 2 and 3). My bottle of batch two is bottle # 14,45x…..? Does anyone have a true numbers of bottles released in each batch?
    Also, any #’s on the Limited Edition Booker’s Rye?

    Thanks

    • I have heard similar numbers on the knob Creek 2001, but it’s possible they just numbered them 1-36,000 irrespective of batches. Still, I continue to see the KC2001 bottles on shelves and Booker’s is long gone.

      I know Booker’s is far more limited and I know that fewer than 100 barrels were even laid down originally. So even using what is likely an absurdly high estimate (100 barrels at 25 cases per), that’s only about 15,000 total bottles of Booker’s Rye. My guess is no more than 10,000 bottles.

  3. Just got around to trying out my Batch 3 bottle that I picked up about eight months ago. I’ll be honest and admit that I’d read a few reviews after I bought it that had me feeling like I’d wasted $150, but low and behold this Bourbon is absolutely phenomenal. Very similar experience to drinking George T. Stagg in terms of the light, loose, water like initial taste followed by a flood of heat and spice and flavor! By far one of the most underrated releases on 2016.

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