Knob Creek 12 was a big surprise for me one day. I had unintentionally turned myself away from these for a while, not expecting much, until I was offered a pour at a friends bar. I think I had a bottle in my possession the next day. Let’s see if it’s any good tonight.
Company on Label: James B. Beam
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Barley
Age: 12 years
Further identification: The blue label on Knob Creek is unique to the 12 year offerings as far as I know; this was purchased early 2021
Nose: Earthy caramel spice on first impression. Allspice & cloves are heavy on this humid day. Definitely balanced by an expressive and enjoyable squeezed lemon juice. Pepper & a dry cacao-tinged molasses. Loaded with dark herbals and spices. Light vanilla presents dry on deep inhales. Some light paper notes; like the smell of the inside of a brown paper grocery bag. Citrus, vanilla and the dark baking spices are the highlights of this poor. Some light toasted bread and cinnamon; the combination eliciting a similar experience to French toast. Later as I continue to dig through the layers a hint of maple syrup crowns this experience. This one is top notch at it’s price point. If it were as balanced & complex with all of these layers from the very start I’d give it an easy five, but there are definitely some subtle sharp pain points with the proof showing a little too strong from time to time. Departing note from the glass is a faint peanut shell.
Palate: Syrupy start on the front palate with caramel & vanilla. As soon as it passes to the back of my tongue there is a big flash of metallic molasses and the same dark allspice of the nose. Really nice, unique profile to this. It leaves a long linger of creamy coffee bean and a synthetic marshmallow. Subsequent sips definitely build into the spice department but also in the creaminess. They do well together, but the tingling sensation on my tongue definitely tells me the spice is winning. Some light graham cracker starts to form as a reprieve later in the glass. It is accompanied by brown sugar & more vanilla whipped cream. 20-ish minutes into the pour I’ve almost completely forgot about the experience with the spice from earlier as this has mellowed into a sweet base that reads best as a vanilla sundae with all the fixin's. Nearing the bottom there is a slight savory note that has formed alongside the caramel. Yummy finish it at the end of the glass with the undying sweet/salty caramel that is aged to perfection.
This is peak Jim Beam product at a wonderful price point. Color me impressed with this one. I definitely don't think it's for everyone given the high spice content and it presenting slightly above it's proof at 100°. But if you are someone who enjoys a higher proof pour on the right night like me, this is a solid hit I would recommend for any occasion. It stood up very well in a recent bourbon flight I did with some family. As such, I will be keeping this one Amongst The Whiskey.