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Knob Creek rye (50% ABV)

Star rating: 4/5

Read our full review of the best rye whiskey

Knob Creek are a part of the Jim Beam distilling family, a company with a story as American as apple pie.

Jim Beam was founded after the Boehm family arrived in the USA from Germany. They Americanised their name and settled in Kentucky in 1788.

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By the late 18th century the family were distilling, Johannes ‘Jacob’ Beam was turning excess corn from the farm into a whiskey that was sweeter than those of traditional recipes brought over by Irish and Scottish immigrants.

The Old Jake Beam Sour Mash bottle had come to be a favourite in the State of Kentucky by 1795, no small feat given that there were over 2,000 distillers in the state at the time.

It wasn’t until Jacob’s son David took over that things were kicked up a notch. At a time when bourbon was sold to people that would come and fill up jugs from barrels, David saw that a revolution was coming and expanded the distillery.

Infrastructure came on leaps and bounds, boats and trains helped solve the issue of distribution and the Beam family were able to ship their wares, no longer limited to jug-in-hand consumers.

The problem was that with mass distribution came a mass shortage of barrels. Fish and vinegar barrels were experimented with with dire results, but these failed attempts did result in the first use of charred barrels, with the wood being burned to remove the unpleasant, lingering tastes.

By the time the Civil War came around, the Beam family’s bourbon was popular up and down the country, General Grant was a keen drinker of Beam’s Old Tub whiskey which in turn prompted Abraham Lincoln to order, ‘find out what [General Grant] drinks, and send a case to my other generals.’

Today the distillery are churning out dozens of different expressions a year with Knob Creek just one of a number of brands succeeding in the group. This 50% rye whiskey wasn’t born until 2012 but has gained a cult following since.

The nose on the bottle is warm with ginger and sweet with caramel, both patted down with coriander and sprinkled with charcoal.

The palate is a simple yet effective marriage of vanilla, peppery rye and butterscotch, all coming together for a gentle yet satisfying profile. The finish is dry and spicy with hints of smoke ushering the whiskey out.

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This review was last updated in June 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

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