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Booker’s Bourbon vs Knob Creek Single Barrel: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Booker’s Bourbon vs Knob Creek Single Barrel in this head to head comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Booker’s Bourbon

NoseVanilla, oak, leather
PalateVanilla, tobacco, stone fruit, caramel
FinishCherry and oak
Alcohol content126 proof (58% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toBlanton’s Single Barrel, Baker’s

Booker’s (Similar Bourbons) is aromatic, rich in vanilla, leather, tobacco and oak.

On the palate, it shows a good body offering initial sharpness that gives way to complex flavors.

Is rich in vanilla, tobacco, stone fruit, caramel, a dash of baking spice and the peanut note you get from the whiskeys crafted at this distillery.

The finish delivers cherry and oak and lingering warmth, but is not harsh, settling into a nice glow on the mouth and in the chest.

Booker’s is hot and tasty, just a bit of astringency from the high proof but quite pleasant nonetheless.

Rich in vanilla, tobacco, leather and caramel without much sweetness which is a good thing for those like me who are not that fond of excessive butterscotch in a pour.

It drinks nicely neat but if you feel the burn add a drop or two of water tuning-down the heat while bringing more sweetness and oak.

Adding a large ice ball also tunes it down but doesn’t allow sweetness to emerge.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Booker’s:

  • Aged between 6 and 8 years.
  • Uncut, unfiltered and straight-from-the-barrel or what I call the “Holy Trinity”.
  • Made from a mash bill comprised of 77% corn, 13% rye and 10% malted barley.
  • Booker’s receives its name from Fredrick Booker Noe II who was Jim Beam’s grandson and master distiller for around 30 years.

Knob Creek Single Barrel

NoseFruit, maple, caramel, vanilla, roasted nuts
PalateNuts, fruit, baking spice, vanilla, oak
FinishWarming, sweet and spicy, oak
Alcohol content120 proof (60% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toKnob Creek 12, Wild Turkey Rare Breed

Nose is sweet, rich in maple syrup, vanilla and a bit of ethanol. Palate kicks off with a buttery body and pleasant heat on the tongue.

Flavor is mostly sweet, with hints of nuts, baking spice, vanilla, oak and a hint the peanut note of every single whiskey crafted at the Jim Beam Distillery.

The finish is long, rich in cinnamon and vanilla with a tad of oak spice.

The Knob Creek Single Barrel is a high proof bourbon that does not drink as such, rewarding you with pleasing warmth along sweetness well balanced against oak char. 

It drinks nicely neat yet a few drops of water bring brown sugar while tuning down the oak spice. It has a nice lasting finish and a lot to appreciate making an entirely satisfying dram.

The 120 proof can be intimidating for some but believe me that the Knob Creek is supremely drinkable. One or two drops of water are enough to tune it down making it easier to drink.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Knob Creek Single Barrel:

  • Bottled at 120 proof but may vary from batch to batch as it bottled at proof, meaning it does not get watered down before bottling.
  • Aged for at least 9 years.
  • The mash bill is comprised of 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malted barley.
  • Won a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2012.

What do Booker’s and Knob Creek have in common?

Made at the same distillery using the same mash

They are made from the same mash as the regular Jim Beam at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY.

Are Booker’s and Knob Creek the same bourbon?

Booker’s has unique features

They are crafted at the same distillery using the same mash bill with some tasting notes in common but there are important differences in barrel management making them different.

Booker’s is aged between 6 and 7 years and Knob Creek for 9. This makes the Booker’s feel warmer while the additional aging provides more oak to the Knob Creek.

Please remember that Booker’s is one of the few Uncut, unfiltered and straight-from-the-barrel bourbons in existence.

Price Comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Booker’s Bourbon$100
Knob Creek Single Barrel$53

Booker’s vs Knob Creek Single Barrel: Which is better?

Too close to call

  • Despite the differences in barrel management and the fact that Booker’s is unfiltered, uncut and straight from the barrel these whiskeys have too many tasting notes in common making hard to tell one from the other.
  • As they are not sufficiently different I prefer the Knob Creek over Booker’s as I see no reason to pay almost twice as much for the latter.
  • These are hard times and every penny counts!

Consider further options by reading my post: Discover the Best Single Barrel Whiskey.

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