Friday, January 25, 2019

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Binny's Private Selection Barrel #7674 Kentucky Straight Bourbon

- $40
- 120 Proof
- 14 Years, 1 Month
- Kentucky

I'm starting to feel like a broken record about this, but these Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve private selections are possibly the best thing going in the bourbon industry right now. They're very affordable, pretty readily available, always good, and sometimes great!!  I keep buying them over and over for this very reason. This one, however, was a Christmas gift from a friend who is fully aware of my love for these bottlings, though, and I couldn't have been more thrilled, as I had not grabbed one for myself when Binny's got them in.

This particular barrel for me falls in the "great" category.  From the first pop of the cork, my nose was filled with pungent and rich notes of dark chocolate and caramel. I got surprisingly little wood on the nose, but it did have an undercurrent of darker fruits, like figs or raisins. The alcohol was almost not noticeable, perhaps masked by the other rich aromas.

The burn that was missing from the nose hit me right up front on my tongue on the first sip. However, it dissipated very quickly, turning to a rich mixture of brown sugar, butter and dark chocolate. This first pour was really the only time that I noticed the alcohol burn, and it was completely absent from later pours. It took on a very dessert-like quality, but not a cloyingly sweet dessert. Rather it was more of a decadent and rich dessert, like a dark chocolate mousse.

There was just the right amount of cinnamon spice that lingered on the back end, along with something a bit sweet and grainy, like graham crackers. The result was a great, lingering flavor with a nice mix of sweet and spice where neither one was overdone. And, though I couldn't find it in the nose or on the tongue, this bourbon offered a nice, long, lingering "Kentucky hug," which was perfect on these cold Chicago nights we've had lately.

Interestingly, while I didn't get any wood on the nose (and I was searching for it given the age of this barrel), in later pours those wood notes really seemed to come through. I've always favored bourbons that provided that nice, balanced wood note (something that seems to be so easily overdone) This one was right in my wheel-house. It had just enough dry, woody notes to add that much more character without taking away from the other incredible flavors that were happening. The sweeter lingering finished likely helped with that as well.

The past few Binny's Knob Creek private barrels I've grabbed have fallen in the "very good" category. This one reminded me, however, of why I keep going back to this well, because this one is solidly within the "great" category. Binny's scored an absolute winner here!

Grade: A

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