Knob Creek 12 Year is a reminder that a bourbon doesn’t need to be a high octane barrel proof bottling, a limited edition special release, or even a single barrel to offer a fantastic sip that is available year round.
Knob Creek 12 Year will certainly be love at first taste for many. The extra time in the barrel is positively noticed right away. Rich oak combined with a hint of leather, sweet vanilla, and marshmallow along with a sprinkling of white pepper. It's refined, complex, and above all else, delicious and amazingly drinkable for any level of bourbon drinker. It’s also impressive how it showcases all of the best aspects of the brand. With this release, Beam managed to laser focus on what some single barrels of the brand are famous for and produce it in a widely available small batch form and at a mass market price point. This is no small feat and should be awarded with applause and in our case, it received our highest accolade in 2020.
A Good Match For: Everyone
Not a Good Match For: Fans of higher proof bourbon
Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style presents a unique and delicious flavor profile, making it one of the best Old Forester releases to date.
The Old Forester Whiskey Row series has been a resounding success for Brown-Forman as it has shown just how different Old Forester can taste when varying the proof and aging conditions. Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Bourbon doesn’t reinvent the wheel with high flying gimmicks. Sure the proof is higher, but inside we find an entirely different flavor profile thanks to barrel selection and masterful blending. Even by comparison with the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon series, which can be enjoyable and echo similar flavor characteristics most likely due to the particular rickhouse and floor the barrels are pulled from, 1920 seems to stand out by offering better balance and an immediately enjoyable experience. Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Bourbon helps put the brand back on the map with a bourbon that showcases the base of what makes Old Forester bourbon great, all while offering a slight tweak to it. The result is a better bourbon because of it.
A Good Match For: Fans of a storied brand that’s undergone a resurgence
Not a Good Match For: Those looking for something unexpected
The Frank August brand is quickly making a name for itself with this approachable small batch bourbon that showcases a high quality and pleasant drinking experience.
Frank August’s concept isn’t an elaborate backstory, instead allowing the bourbon (and bottle) to speak for itself. The minimalist and contemporary designed bottle is your first clue that there’s a high concept in play here. Comprising just 10-15 barrels, it's definitely a small batch bourbon that showcases both the rounding off of some rough edges while also allowing it to keep some character more akin to single barrels or very small batches. We can see a lot of people enjoying a sip of Frank August Small Batch Bourbon. It’s approachable, inoffensive, and maintains a good balance of classic and semi-unique flavors in its blend. Much like its bottle design, it's delicate and sophisticated. It's a tight package overall that knows what it is, knows what it set out to do, and accomplishes it with precision.
A Good Match For: Anyone who likes approachable small batch bourbons
Not a Good Match For: Those who dislike classy bottle designs
Jeptha Creed Distillery offers a unique style of bourbon that goes a long way towards making the case for farm distilleries and the distinctiveness they can offer with their product.
Right out of the gate there’s something special going on with Jeptha Creed Red, White & Blue Bourbon. First, this bourbon’s nose is quite special, but not in the usual ways. It forgoes more typical bourbon scents and overly sweet fruity ones for a very down to earth aroma. Even better, the rest of the sip follows the nose's lead. It’s rustic and earthy, but doesn’t come across as artificial, young, or overdone. This particular style of bourbon might not be for everyone, as many bourbon consumers have come to expect overly sweet or spicy bourbons nowadays. Jeptha Creed Red, White & Blue Straight Bourbon is quite the opposite of that, but is able to offer something unique in the middle ground. There is often the claim of how important it is for a distillery to control all aspects of their process, especially the growing of their grain, and Jeptha Creed Red, White & Blue Straight Bourbon is an excellent example of this in action.
A Good Match For: People looking to explore the concept of grain to glass bourbon
Not a Good Match For: Those who dislike earthy flavors in their bourbon
Despite each batch being unique and spanning a range of distilleries, Barrell Bourbon has proven to be reliable, demonstrating high quality with each new release.
With most whiskey companies looking to find the next new thing (and Barrell Craft Spirits being no stranger to this practice), the company continually makes the case for good old fashioned blending. Barrell Craft Spirits offers consistently high quality products across the board, with most bourbon batches carrying similar undertones that showcase blends of bourbons from different states. As more and more Barrell Bourbon batches get released to market, the unique characteristics of each become increasingly more nuanced. Barrell really have a knack for finding a blend’s sweet spot, bringing the flavors together in a harmony making it look easy. Where many other company’s fail to release a single great batch of bourbon a year, Barrell often releases three to four. On top of that, they have an impeccable record of not releasing a bad batch yet. Barrell Craft Spirits continue to prove with each of their Barrell Bourbon batches over the last decade that they are one of the best blenders in American whiskey.
A Good Match For: Drinkers seeking out excellently blended bourbons
Not a Good Match For: Those who dislike high proof
Buy from: Frootbat
Brooklyn is known for their artisanal merchants, and Kings County is no exception, producing one of the more unique Bottled in Bond bourbons in the market.
Kings County Distillery definitely marches to the beat of their own drum when it comes to distilling and that is all too apparent at first sip of their Bottled in Bond Bourbon. Kings County Distillery’s bourbon tastes different than what you’re probably used to from Kentucky distilleries. This is all due to how Kings County crafts their whiskey. Utilizing copper stills, open fermentation, a unique mashbill, and smaller barrels combine to create a bourbon that tastes distinctly Kings County. The resulting bourbon has an unmistakable viscosity and flavor texture that finds a way to balance dark flavors against the brightness that’s driven by its 4 years aging in barrels and high amount of malt in its mashbill. It's a dangerous tightrope to walk and it won’t be for everyone, but for some, it will stand out in a crowded field of like-minded competitors.
A Good Match For: Those who are adventurous
Not a Good Match For: Bourbon fans who prefer more traditional tasting bourbon