American Whiskey - Bourbon

Knob Creek 9yr Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Rating Information

  • Proof66 Rating
    742 / 891
    Rabble Rating
    4.0 / 5.0
    Price (USD)
    $31
    Proof
    100.0

Rating Description

99th Percentile
This score falls in the 99th percentile of all spirits in the Whiskey category and is an example of the very best in its class.
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Proof66 Notes

Knob Creek bourbon is part of Jim Beam's "small batch collection," which is intended to create handcrafted spirits capable of competing with the specialty boutique bourbons from smaller distilleries.

Knob Creek, aged for 9 full years and personally selected by the master distiller, is considered one of the most successful premium bourbons on the market. In the summer of 2009, Proof66 was informed that Jim Beam was in danger of "running out" of Knob Creek due to its success but (after all, it takes nine years to make) they would not compromise the quality by attempting to artificially increase production.

Knob Creek was named Best Bourbon in the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition

We had our own thoughts about this whiskey after a tasting run by Master Distiller Fred Noe.

San Francisco World Spirits Competition

  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015

Beverage Testing Institute

  • 2005
  • 2010
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015

Wine Enthusiast

  • 2005
This bottle has 46 ratings and 44 reviews.
Flizbap Flizbap (1) (2016-01-16)
Thus far, my personal favorite bourbon.
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Review Comments
Flizbap (2016-01-16):
Side note: the bottle is annoyingly shaped and hard to pour. Which is a downside.

Cranecreek Cranecreek (34) (2016-01-09)
This is the point in which those on their quest of exploring the best in Bourbon starts. Granted it may be another product for some, but for many the introduction to Knob Creek opens the door to what is to come. Coconut ? Dates/Raisin ? are there actually tastes and aromas like that in Bourbon ? You bet there are ! Knob Creek delivers great bourbon classical taste and then adds in the richness of dark fruits and creamy vanilla and sweet oak. At the same time combining the spicy Rye flavors into the mix. Individually we will identify even more tastes unique to ourselves. The 50% alcohol not only makes this Bourbon a great sipping Bourbon but preserves the inherent flavors from the barrel. It only gets better as you step up from here.
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Review Comments
Phizbin (2016-01-09):
Dude, that's spot on! I bet this is just about EVERYbody's first taste of what great bourbon is and what it can be. I'm sure everyone moves on from there in some way or other, but Knob Creek is always the start. Very insightful.

BDanner (2016-01-10):
Agreed. With limited bourbon experience, I remember trying this out at a bar and it was like a light bulb going off over my head. "Wow, this is what bourbon can be!"

budgetsipper budgetsipper (7) (2015-12-04)
Count me as one who does not understand the high rating on this site. Very harsh and I can't shake the Jim Beam taste. I don't even like mixing it.
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Review Comments
Proof66 Staff (2015-12-07):
Hi... staff editor here! I hear what you're saying. After editing for several years, my sense is that the critics tend to award high scores to very strongly flavored, very high-proof whiskeys. And most people who regard themselves as "connoisseurs" have the same tastes. But for most lesser mortals (and I include myself here), one really has to add a little water or ice to bring the proof back to something more respectable. Try adding a quantity of water to the whiskey (or mixing it in a well-shaken Manhattan or similar) and see if that improves things for you. The nice thing, is a bottle at this strength can go a long ways!

US Spirit US Spirit (46) (2015-11-25)
Most of the time when I'm about to try a new bourbon, I'm prepared to like it. Why else would I spend the money to try it? Knob Creek was an exception. I was prepared to hate it. Why? I don't know, I guess it was partly the relatively high price, partly the trendiness of the stuff, and partly because I felt the bottle is kind of gimicky for an expensive bourbon (I still feel that way btw). At the time, I think this was $50 or nearly that at the store where I bought it. I spent I think $10 on a 100ml bottle, and first reaction upon tasting it was, "9 years old, $50 a fifth and it burns that $#$% much?!". I didn't pour my sample out though and by the time I was done with that little bottle I definitely learned to like Knob Creek. I spaced it out: once I had it neat, once with an ice cube. Both experiences turned out to be enjoyable. Yes, this is a harsh whiskey for 100 proof. Yes it is exceptionally harsh given the age and price. But ironically, this is also as close to liquid candy as I've ever experienced in a straight bourbon. In both the nose and on the tongue I get: a ton of alcohol with quite a bit of burn, caramel, vanilla, green apple, a bit of oak and as well as some smoke and charcoal (though unlike some reviewers I did not find this to be an extremely smokey bourbon). I liked this a bit better with an ice cube as that did tame the burn a bit and Knob Creek apparently does not dilute easily. I can't comment on this stuff as a mixer, as I didn't buy enough to also sample it in a mixed drink, but ultimately I think this was very good. I would definitely order this out, and a bottle purchase isn't out of the question either. That being said this isn't for everyone, and I would not jump from an ultra smooth 80 proof bourbon like George Dickel, Gentleman Jack (yes I know those are both Tennessee whiskies, all TW's are also bourbons), or Basil Hayden's to this. However if you're a fan of Beam White Label (which is also 80 proof but burns like fire imo) you should love this. Probably the nearest I came to this previously was Wild Turkey 101 which is kind of similar (big profile, higher proof, kind of in your face), and I think a heads up taste test between the 2 would be very interesting (if Turkey wins I'd probably have to cut my rating though since its significantly cheaper than Knob). Anyway, my bottom line, is yes would generally recommend this, though not as your first 100 proof bourbon. Oh yeah and as of this writing Knob Creek is the highest rated Bourbon on this site, with a composite expert score of over 700. This is not even close to my personal favorite, and I think it would be tough to claim this is anything like the highest quality bourbon in the US, however I can see how this could be the most universally enjoyed bourbon among experts. Anyway I give it 4 stars.
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sixfoot sixfoot (5) (2015-10-29)
Stuff tastes like pesticides
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JacktheNineLives JacktheNineLives (1) (2015-10-29)
Im certainly not a fan of Jim Beam, especially in recent years but without a doubt Knob Creek is a Strong, Well-Made Whiskey.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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KaiserSoze KaiserSoze (93) (2015-10-22)
I typically judge whiskey on how it tastes neat or with just a drop/splash of water. For me, Knob Creek just doesn't cut it neat. However, just adding 1 ice cube makes a world of difference and transforms it into something great. I've never tried it in a cocktail but I bet it would make a solid old fashioned.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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tdwester tdwester (7) (2015-08-17)
Great flavor holds help well to an ice ball during the summer and very easy to find. Makes very good cocktails also, should be a mainstay in everyone's liqueur cabinet.
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jeanphilt jeanphilt (32) (2015-07-31)
Similar to Elijah Craig, it's good but not great, especially for the price ...
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Andy1991 Andy1991 (15) (2015-06-15)
Great bourbon! Very enjoyable on the rocks or in a manhattan.
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lpy89 lpy89 (173) (2015-05-23)
Not sure about the hype behind this bourbon. Has bold nose of fruitiness and caramel which i like. Now the bad news: finishes rather harsh and unplesant with quite a burn. I used to hate buffalo trace and never understood why people sweared by it so much. However after giving it second chance i finally could enjoy it like the masses. This however, i just can't get into it. Im sorry KC, but i just can't get along with you unfortunately.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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lorax735 lorax735 (25) (2015-04-23)
Lots of reviews on this one. Great Bourbon. A little pricey for the branding. Excellent bourbon drank neat. Complex and worth your time. Sweeter than KC Rye but with less nose unfortunately. Very enjoyable. Would be tough to only choose one bottle of knob creek bourbon or rye. Both great and different. I have ended up getting both.
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Gregor Gregor (1) (2015-04-11)
This bourbon is very good. I'd give it a solid 90. On the nose - vanilla, flowers, some cinnamon, arrival - vanilla, caramel, a little spice. This is 100 proof yet there's no harshness at all. It opens up nicely with one ice cube or a tsp of water. The empty glass has a dense, sweet flowery aroma too. This is a winner and at $19 after the 10 rebate (Spring 2015), this is an extraordinary bargain too.
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Joebazz Joebazz (25) (2015-02-10)
An excellent bourbon. Flavorful, smooth with enough kick from the alcohol. Full Body, Very nice oak notes, sweet, with some nice spiciness.Vanilla,caramel. Very nice deep golden amber color.This is my all time favorite for now.
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Review Comments
Cranecreek (2016-01-09):
Well reviewed = on the spot with comments.

Crgaudette Crgaudette (11) (2015-01-30)
Love everything about this stuff. The bottle, the little bit of burn. Must have for the cabinet.
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jaketaz jaketaz (163) (2014-10-02)
When I started drinking bourbon I thought this tasted like bile. Now that I've been exploring bourbon for about ten years, I feel the same. The accolades and boutique allure really mystify me, there are bourbons of every stripe that do better than this in terms of complexity of flavor, smoothness, or even harshness if that's what you're looking for. Plenty of high-proofs like Stagg Jr. and Backbone taste smoother, plenty of flavor-heavies like Michter's and Elijah have more going on, and the super-smoothies like Four Roses and Bulleit won't give you that awful burn this does. I swear this alcohol burns more than any I've ever had. Way too much oak, too harsh to sip and too overpowering for a cocktail.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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BDanner BDanner (94) (2014-09-27)
Had this last night while out. I had forgotten how much I enjoy this (I don't purchase it often @ $36 a bottle)! On the rocks, this stuff is heaven in a glass. A flavor profile that is so simple, yet hard to put into words. Vanilla and caramel? Spiced apple? Just sweet enough with a TON of oak. Remarkably smooth for a 100 proof bourbon, it goes down with very limited burn. Neat, it is a little rough around the edges, but in a good way if that makes sense. Definitely get more fire in the finish neat. The "oak and smoke" are what sets this ahead of the rest of the pack. I'd give this six stars if I could.
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mynoseknows mynoseknows (29) (2014-09-25)
An entry level boutique bourbon that will impress your friends. Drink it with a Japanese ice ball in a tumbler. Pour one shot over the ice ball.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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voiceofsticks voiceofsticks (14) (2014-09-23)
Good depth of flavors on the palate and just the right combo of smoothness and kick in the finish. $23 in Maryland on 1/18/2014. Not my favorite but pretty good overall.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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joeg73 joeg73 (5) (2014-08-25)
This has been my go-to for years. Any time I'm ordering a bourbon at the bar or picking some up at the liquor store, this is what I go with. At 100 proof, I rarely drink it neat. I usually go with some cool water or on the rocks
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Irishman Irishman (268) (2014-07-09)
I have been enjoying Knob Creek for many years now and it was actually one of the first bourbons I ever had. Back in my bourbon newbie days, it was a little rough, but after acquiring an appreciation for a full bodied, robust, lively oak flavored whiskey - there's not much that can beat it at this price.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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Ihavenoidea Ihavenoidea (2) (2014-04-27)
Probably not for everyone, but once I tried KC all other bourbons seem to lack flavor. This is my go-to. Try it neat, add 2 ice cubes and sip.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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Muncher Muncher (260) (2014-03-29)
I've agreed with Edith before. I think she's wrong here. Not harsh, just strong flavors. Better than Four Roses and equal (but different) to Blanton's. To me the profile is strong, but for the most part balanced. Kind of like the bourbon version of a lightly peated Islay scotch.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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derkerderr derkerderr (70) (2014-01-27)
This isn't the worst bourbon on the planet but I find it to be highly overrated. I was expecting to have my mind blown but only ended up with my money blown. It's drinkable and I like that it's 100 proof but there are better options at this products price range.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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Edith MaGoo Edith MaGoo (55) (2014-01-26)
I can't believe this is rated in the top 10%. It's just not good at all. For the price, it's horrible. Like another rater said, it is very very harsh. It's burn in the mouth and throat and a bitter (Jim Beam brand) aftertaste. I can't believe anyone who voted this into the Top 10 has ever tasted anything like Four Roses or Blanton's.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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dinglebarryspls dinglebarryspls (10) (2014-01-03)
knob creek makes you rethink your entire existence. are you man? or are you dancer? is this real life? or just fantasy, caught in a land slide? is there an escape from reality? knob creek will open your eyes look up to the sky and see. that this whiskey makes you piss fucking excellence.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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gmish gmish (14) (2014-01-03)
Shits amazing
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vinevine vinevine (4) (2013-11-11)
Needs to be in the 700 club. Awesome.
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TimeToGoHome TimeToGoHome (32) (2013-10-29)
Starts with the caramel. Finishes with a smooth burn.
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NeatPour NeatPour (172) (2013-08-11)
If you're looking for a very smooth easily drinkable bourbon I don't think this one is for you. My first pour didn't go we'll but after dabbling around and comming back I find that this really is a rich complex bourbon. Lots of character but unless you really like bourbon this maybe off putting at first. However if you stick with it you may find it makes a more lasting impression than many of the more easy going bourbons
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Dakota Dakota (136) (2013-07-08)
Wow
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chadejah chadejah (3) (2013-04-11)
Lots of apple in the nose and in the flavor, but the Beam trashiness shows through in the finish. Wont seek out again, not a bottle buy.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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cincyhound cincyhound (4) (2013-02-08)
I have to honest in that I am not a very big fan of any Jim Beam bourbons. Someone gave this to me as a present, so I did end up sampling it on several occasions. Never did warm up to it, so it was relegated to "well stock" I use for mixed drinks and cooking.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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Allan Allan (159) (2013-01-30)
Bold and spicy and at first a bit harsh. This to me is because of the higher than normal proof. Add a single ice cube to the glass and it opens up nicely. Then flavors of fruit and smoke are rather pleasant. A good price for a 9yr bourbon.
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monkeyxx monkeyxx (39) (2012-11-18)
oh my GOD this is a good bourbon.  It's fierce and mean, but complex.  It's got such a ramp of flavor when you sip it.  So manly, so American.  The only thing I've tried that I like better than Old Crow Reserve, however much more expensive.  Four Roses (single barrel I think?) was excellent too.  I guess a bourbon has to do something special for me to want to spend this kind of money on it.  the mid price range never seems to do much for me n whiskey...I go high or low, I guess
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mclarkwvu mclarkwvu (5) (2012-10-27)
Knob Creek is a personal favorite, as I like to mix my bourbon. Drank straight, the harsh nature of 100 liquor will overpower any of its redeeming qualities that can be cut through with some coke or 7. Smooth, spicy, with warm undertones or a slight vanilla or toffee, that is soon replaced with the smokey sweetness of the charred white oak barrels. Truly a salute to American bourbon making history!
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nathanbruley nathanbruley (7) (2012-06-26)
Really smooth without sacrificing flavor. Oak and caramel flavors, definitely good with one cube, would recommend
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bourbob bourbob (24) (2012-05-15)
Its actually somewhat harsh. Overrated for sure.
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magezi magezi (55) (2012-04-16)
One of the best bourbons I have tasted. Big and very smooth, honey,liqourice, raisin, very much corn syrup. Aftertaste has rye (maybe) battling with corn which lingers forever.  Very much same kind of taste like Jim Beam black, but if JB Black is volkswagen beetle, this is definitely Porche! Got a picture?
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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wenlidd wenlidd (8) (2011-11-13)
SO SMOOTH AND KNOBBY DOES IT RIGHT.
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Aluman Aluman (2) (2011-09-14)
Nose: Mostly floral in nature, I can't quite pin down a secondary scent, and finally charcoal overtones. Taste (w/o water): The aclchol in this tends to overwhelm, though the charcoal nature comes through a bit a burnt offering of sorts. Taste (w about 1-2oz of water): With a bit of time for dilution and softening the alchol nature of this a taste of fruitiness comes through it remains dry however and kinda burnt. Of the high dollar bourbon's this one is mid grade.  Its not quite top shelf, but certainly well worth having around.
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TheSippingLife TheSippingLife (110) (2011-04-27)
KC is a bourbon I find hampered by the power of its relative harshness compared to others like Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace. There are good flavors and this is a solid bourbon, but the harshness (partially a result of its increased proof over its competitors) was a bit of a turn-off for me. Nevertheless, I wouldn't want to steer those curious away from this one. It deserves a shot against the rest of the field, and I'm honestly interested to try the newer KC models. Try this one for the sake of the enthusiasm for spirits, and let the chips fall where they may.
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jfatt340 jfatt340 (15) (2010-08-05)
This bottle works best when you have a large pocket that it will fit into.
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Phizbin Phizbin (200) (2008-10-03)
I know a lot of people love this bourbon... but I can't get into it. It tastes too much like charcoal for me. I have to douse it in other stuff in an old-fashioned or sweet vermouth in a manhattan in order to make it work.
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  • 080686016106
  • 080686646402
  • 080686639466
  • 080686016601
  • 080686016205
  • 080686016908
  • 080686016403
  • 5060045580184
  • 080686016311
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