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Friday, March 3, 2023

Bourbon and Rye Day Friday: Knob Creek 15 year old bourbon, batch KC002

After a 5+ year hiatus, BARD Friday returns! As with all my reviews, I give you no promises regarding the BARD whiskies' relevance, though it's still cheaper and easier to buy contemporary bourbons and ryes compared to single malt scotch, especially here in The Midwest.

Let's start the fun with the KC002 batch of Knob Creek 15, which was released either in 2021 or 2022. As I'm sure I've written many times, Knob Creek and I have a weird relationship. In general, I almost always prefer rye over bourbon in everything from sippin' to mixin'. But I like the Knob Creek brand's bourbon a lot more than its rye, to the point that I'm unmotivated to ever try another KC rye. On the positive side, yay KC bourbon! Here's the oldest one I've had.

pic source
Owner: Beam Suntory
Brand: Knob Creek
Distillery: Jim Beam Distillery
Location: Clermont, Kentucky
Mash Bill: 77% Corn, 13% Rye, 10% Malted Barley (I think)
Age: minimum 15 years
Batch: KC002
ABV: 50% ABV
(from a bottle split)


Pretty fruit notes arrive early in the nose, with pineapple, lemon zest, and cherry jello ringing the loudest. A hint of honey drifts towards flower blossoms with time. Soft whiffs of confections. And, yes, plenty of earthy char.

An intense burst of cherry candy meets almost-smoky levels of barrel char in the palate. Cinnamon, mint leaf, and salt rest in the middle, lemon and honey in the back.

Tannins fill the finish, yet do not wreck the tongue. Smaller touches of salt, lemon, blossoms, and mint leaf cower beneath.


The adorable nose wins, of course. Though quite good, the palate is prevented from ascending further by the brutality of charred white oak, something I frequently find in >12yo bourbons. It's like the leveling-off of a mountain. We never see the top, just an early plateau. This whiskey still works very well though, and may be one of the best contemporary 15yo bourbons I've had, though that's not saying much.

I would absolutely drink this again! And if you don't mind tannin aggression, I hope you find Knob Creek 15 year old at its SRP.

Availability - USA
Pricing - anywhere from $100 to $300
Rating - 84