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Knob Creek 15 vs Knob Creek Single Barrel: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Knob Creek 15 vs Knob Creek Single Barrel in this head to head comparison and decide which is better for You!

Knob Creek 15 Year

NoseOak, caramel, cherry
PalateOak, vanilla, caramel
FinishLong, dry and warming
Alcohol content100 proof (50% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toKnob Creek 12, Booker’s

The nose offers an oak blast at first, followed by caramel and cherry.

On the palate, the 15 YO is warm up-front with strong oaky notes that mellows into a flavor rich in caramel, vanilla a bit of honey and not to mention the classic peanut hint of the whiskeys crafted by Jim Beam.

The finish is long, a bit dry, somewhat bitter and astringent, with satisfying heat that warms your throat and chest.

The Knob Creek 15 becomes better when served on ice as it settles into a more approachable bourbon.

This bourbon offers many of the tasting notes you get from the 9 YO and the 12 YO with a much richer oak presence that overpowers other flavors making it feel unbalanced.

Not a bad 15 year old whiskey but far from the best making me prefer Knob Creek’s younger siblings.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Knob Creek 15:

  • Bottled at 100 proof.
  • Aged for 15 years in charred oak casks.
  • Made from the same mash bill as the 9 YO, the 12 YO and the Jim Beam White Label.
  • The distillery claims that the casks used to craft the 15 YO are selected from prime locations in the warehouse.
  • 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 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, Knob Creek Small Batch

Nose is sweet, rich in maple syrup, vanilla and a bit of ethanol.

Palate kicks off with a buttery body and good heat on the tongue. Flavor is mostly sweet, with hints of nuts, baking spice, vanilla, oak and a hint of peanut.

The finish is long, rich in cinnamon and vanilla with a bit 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 making an entirely satisfying dram.

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

This is the best Knob Creek, and one I can’t recommend enough!

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

  • Aged for at least 9 years.
  • Bottled from single casks, hand-picked based on their final age, rack placement and other proprietary methods.
  • 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.
  • Knob Creek is one of the many Jim Beam’s offsprings which in turns belongs to Beam Suntory from Japan.

Difference between the Knob Creek 15 and the Single Barrel

There are two main differences between these bourbons:

  • Knob Creek 15 is aged for 6 additional years.
  • Knob Creek Single Barrel is bottled at proof meaning it was not diluted with water.

Price & comparison

Knob Creek 15 Year$126
Knob Creek Single Barrel$53

Knob Creek 15 vs Knob Creek Single Barrel: Which is better?

Single Barrel provides a better experience

  • The Single Barrel is not the smoothest bourbon but does not drink as a 120 proof dram.
  • Adding a drop of water makes it entirely easier to drink and feel better balanced than the 15 YO which is not bad but too rich in oak overwhelming other tasting notes.
  • Price also gives the edge to the Knob Creek Single Barrel as it provides great value for the money.
  • When in doubt I prefer buying the higher proof and more affordable pour. Remember that a good high proof bourbon can easily be tamed with water or a large ice ball.

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