Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve - Smaller than Small Batch
Master Distiller Fred Noe (seventh generation distiller and great grandson of Jim Beam) ensures that the best barrels in the Claremont, Kentucky distillery don't get lost in a blend; instead, superior barrels are hand-selected to be bottled at nine years for this Single Barrel Reserve, with the criterion that each barrel contain "a unique expression of Knob Creek's rich, mature flavor." The result is a super-premium, natural spirit with strong vanilla notes and a deep, smoky finish. It's easy to sip and holds its own in a cocktail -- and packs an unexpected punch at 120 proof.
While there are no plans to release a tasting gift box like the below this year, make sure you get yourself two glasses for sampling this spirit you can buy again and again to improve your bourbon acumen. Try it neat first, but in the second glass, add a little water to the dark amber spirit to tease out its particular distinctive flavors. Vanilla is the most obvious at first, but taste carefully for caramel, nuttiness and other subtleties developed over its nine years in American oak.
Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is surprisingly affordable at a suggested retail price of just $40 per bottle.