Classification: Straight Rye
Company: Beam Suntory
Distillery: Jim Beam
Release Date: Ongoing
Mashbill: Undisclosed (Believed to be at or just slightly above the legal minimum of 51% rye)
Color: Light Gold
Bottled at the same proof as the standard Knob Creek Bourbon, Knob Creek Rye is the only standard ongoing rye product in Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection. Beam doesn’t disclose its mashbill, but it’s believed Knob Creek Rye is a barely legal rye at just over 51% rye.
For supposedly being a little over 51% rye, the nose is surprisingly expressive and more inline with higher percentage rye whiskeys. Fresh cracked rye grain, green apple, and charred oak mingle together. Additionally, there’s an underlying layer of smokey syrup present. For a 100 proof rye, the nose is layered full of flavor.
Light amounts of rye grain, white pepper, citrus rinds, vanilla, pine effervescence, and oak are noticeable. The sip is light overall for a rye. It is ever so slightly spicy and not the most rye-forward sip by any means. That said, its 100 proof makes this easy to sip on and enjoy without being too hot.
Light rye spice, sweet vanilla, and oak are present at the start. The finish has a small amount of heat upfront that fades away leaving a layer of light rye and tannic oak that linger for a while. It’s a nice way to end the sip, albeit it doesn’t leave a memorable experience behind either.
Knob Creek Rye won’t jump out in a crowded field of ryes. It isn’t a unique barrel finished rye like Angel’s Envy Rye, a fruitier rye like Rittenhouse Rye Bottled in Bond, or a heavy-handed rye-forward whiskey like High West Double Rye. What it is, is a readily available rye that will scratch most people’s itch when they’re seeking out an everyday sip or a strong backbone for rye inspired cocktails. Not every whiskey can stand out from the pack and some are just content simply offering a solid pour. In this case Knob Creek Rye is about as middle of the road as you can get in terms of uniqueness.
While the flavor profile may not be overly memorable, Knob Creek Rye’s value is hard to beat. For $40 or less, you’re able to get a very easy sipping rye that isn’t overly sweet and holds back on being extremely rye forward. The lower price point allows this to easily be used in cocktails just as much as it does for pouring a glass neat.
Readily available at an affordable price, Knob Creek Rye is an easy choice when deciding on a staple rye to stock for your home bar.
Knob Creek Rye won’t blow you away by any means. What it will do though is deliver a consistent satisfying pour. Its 100 proof is welcomed, making it bold yet still very palatable. As a result it works any way you like it - neat, on the rocks, and in cocktails if you want a more traditional flavor but desire a moderate amount of additional spice and potency. Knob Creek Rye might easily be a whiskey some of us think of as too mainstream, but underneath it’s a quality rye that just about anyone can appreciate. Combined with it’s lower price point, Knob Rye is one that’s worth giving a shot at least once. While you may not be blown away, you’ll most likely not be disappointed either.