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Four Roses vs Knob Creek: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Four Roses Small Batch vs Knob Creek 9 Year in this in depth comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!

Four Roses Small Batch

NoseVanilla, cherry, oak
PalateVanilla, oak, baking spice
FinishLong, burnt caramel
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toSingle Barrel, Small Batch Select

Four Roses is a bourbon made from a mash high in rye providing a spicy touch. It provides a softer hit of spice than the Bulleit Bourbon but definitely more spicy than a regular bourbon like the Knob Creek.

The nose is mainly sweet with hints of vanilla, cherry and wood.

On the palate, the Four Roses displays a good creamy body, is rich in vanilla, caramel and rye spice with a faint oaky note.

The finish is long, with very little burn with a nice hint of burnt caramel.

The Four Roses Small Batch (Similar Bourbons) nicely balances sweet and spicy flavors coming from rye and is packed with enjoyable hints. Creamy and smooth with just the right amount of spice making a great sipper.

There is no need to add ice or a drop of water to tune it down as it goes down with no harshness.

If you have already tried the regular Four Roses you will find the Small Batch to be a vast improvement.

It is more tasty and smoother while still providing great value for the money and a satisfying daily drinker.

Learn more about this brand by reading my post: Discover the Best Four Roses Bottle!

There are a few facts worth knowing about Four Roses:

  • Made from a blend of four different Kentucky bourbons. Two of the bourbons are made from of a mash of 60% corn, 35% rye and 5% malted barley, while the other two bourbons are comprised of a mash of 75% corn, 20% rye and 5% malted barley.
  • Each of the bourbons is fermented with a unique, proprietary yeast culture providing a different flavor to the whiskeys in the blend.
  • Each bourbon is aged for a minimum of 4 years at a one-story rickhouse.
  • Only 4 casks are used in the construction of each release.
  • Four Roses is owned by the Kirin Brewing Company of Japan.

Knob Creek 9 Year

NoseCherry, vanilla, caramel, rye spice, oak
PalateVanilla, oak, cherry, chocolate, peanuts
FinishLong, vanilla, banana, baking spices
Alcohol content100 proof (50% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toBulleit Bourbon, Woodford Reserve

Knob Creek is made from the same mash as the regular Jim Beam but is aged for a longer period using highly charred oak barrels and bottled at a much higher proof providing more body.

This removes the hard edges delivering a better experience than the Jim Beam which is not that good, TBH.

Nose brings cherry up-front, followed by vanilla, caramel, oak and and a spicy note from the rye.

On the palate the Knob Creek offers a creamy feel, is pleasantly warm with more vanilla and oak, along chocolate and the peanut hint that you find in every whiskey crafted at the Jim Beam Distillery.

The finish is long and warming and supremely drinkable at 100 proof with plento appreciate.

Knob Creek (Similar Bourbons) is smooth, rounded and tasty, incredibly good without any off-notes, with a buttery body.

This bourbon does not drink as a 100 proof as it has no harshness or bad bite, it goes down easy.

The best way of drinking the Knob Creek is neat or straight. If you want to make it more tasty add a drop of of water releasing sweet notes making it more enjoyable.

Learn more about this brand by reading my post: Discover the Best Knob Creek Bourbon where I rank every release.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Knob Creek:

  • It was launched in 1992 as part of Jim Beam Small Batch Collection showing a 9 year age statement.
  • The age statement was removed in 2016 but made a comeback in April 2020.
  • Knob Creek ages for 9 years in white oak barrels with the maximum possible char.
  • The mash bill is made from 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley.
  • Knob Creek Bourbon was created by Booker Noe, who after joining Jim Beam in 1950 was promoted to Master Distiller just ten years later.
  • Knob Creek belongs to Japan-based Suntory Holdings.

Four Roses vs Knob Creek: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Four Roses Small Batch$36
Knob Creek$34

Four Roses vs Knob Creek: Which is better?

Four Roses is a safer bet

WhiskeyFour RosesKnob Creek
  • Four Roses lies in the intersection of being tasty and yet smooth, spice and sweetness are nicely balanced, and it delivers a nice experience from nose to finish.
  • Knob Creek is a little warmer as it has more proof (100 vs 90), providing more body to the bourbon just a bit hotter.
  • Personally, I prefer the Knob Creek as I normally prefer the option with higher proof, but I feel the Four Roses is the safer option for folks that prefer an overly smooth nightcap.