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Knob Creek 9 Year vs Maker’s Mark: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Knob Creek 9 Year vs Maker’s Mark in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

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, Elijah Craig

The Knob Creek is crafted using the same mash as Jim Beam (Review), the difference lies in a extended aging and the use of highly charred barrels.

This is enough to remove the hard edges from the Jim Beam making of the Knob Creek a completely different bourbon.

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

On the palate the Knob Creek (Similar Bourbons) offers a buttery texture showing a creamy body.

First sip feels pleasantly warm with more vanilla and oak, along chocolate, a cherry note and the peanut note of the whiskeys crafted at the Jim Beam Distillery.

The finish is long and warming and supremely drinkable at 100 proof and has plenty to appreciate.

Knob Creek is amazingly solid without any off-notes, with a thick creamy body that you can almost chew.

Knob Creek is bottled at 100 proof, making it a high proof spirit, but it goes down nicely as their is no harshness or bad bite in this bourbon. I can’t recommend it enough.

The best way of drinking the Knob Creek is neat or straight. If you want to make it more tasty add a few drops of water allowing rich floral notes to emerge while making it more enjoyable.

I’m not so fond of using the Knob Creek to make cocktails as I prefer something more spicy such as the Knob Creek Rye to make cocktails.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Knob Creek:

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

Maker’s Mark

NoseCinnamon, clove, nutmeg, almond
PalateRye spice, caramel, dried fruit, nuts
FinishLong, caramel, rye spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toFour Roses, Bulleit Bourbon

There is nail polish on the nose at first that fades into vanilla and cherry as you let it develop in the glass.

On the palate there is vanilla, caramel, cherry and honey providing a pleasant mouthfeel.

The finish has a moderate length, is sweet with very little heat and just a tad of pepper.

Adding a drop of water makes it taste like a Tootsie Pop, while tuning down the spicy note making it easier to sip.

Maker’s Mark (Alternatives) is a well-rounded enjoyable bourbon without any bold flavors. It is one of the few bourbons, along Pappy, Weller, Old Elk, Larceny, that carry wheat in the mash as opposed to rye in the mash.

This makes the Maker’s Mark a bit sweeter and smoother while providing a bready flavor.

Nothing stands-out but there are no off-putting notes as it is nicely balanced, yet with enough body.

It makes a good entry-level bottle to those new to bourbon or liquors in general or a nice “everyday whisky” for those looking for a non-challenging sipper.

Learn more about this brand by reading my post: Discover the Best Maker’s Mark so you consider further options.

There are few facts about Maker’s Mark worth knowing:

  • Maker’s Mark is made from 70% corn, 16% red wheat, and 14% malted barley. 
  • While most whiskeys age for a set amount of time, Maker’s is bottled when the tasters call it to be ready; that is between 6 and 7 years.
  • This one of the few whiskey brands in the United States that uses “whisky” instead of “whiskey” in its name due to the founders Scottish heritage.
  • Maker’s bottles stand out from the rest due to the red wax seal that is still made by hand nowadays.
  • Maker’s Mark is owned by Beam Suntory, a Japanese drinks giant who also owns Jim Beam and is headquartered in Osaka, Japan.

What do Knob Creek and Maker’s Mark have in common?

Owned by the same parent company

Both Knob Creek and Maker’s Mark are owned by Beam Suntory, headquartered in Chicago, which in turn is a subsidiary of Beam Holdings Limited of Japan.

Beam Suntory holds others brands such as Jim Beam, Laphroaig, Sauza Tequila among several others.

Despite having the same parent company they are distilled at different locations. Maker’s Mark is crafted in Loretto, KY, while the Knob Creek is made at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY.

What’s the difference between Knob Creek and Maker’s Mark?

The main difference between these bourbons lies in the mash, the aging and the proof:

Knob Creek75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley9100
Maker’s Mark70% corn, 16% red wheat, and 14% malted barley6-790

Knob Creek vs Maker’s Mark: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Knob Creek$38
Maker’s Mark$32

Knob Creek vs Maker’s Mark: Which is Better?

Knob Creek is a more satisfying bourbon

WhiskeyKnob CreekMaker’s Mark
  • Knob Creek is a more interesting and satisfying bourbon. Bottled at 100 proof yet supremely drinkable, strikes a nice balance between sweet, spice, oak and warmth making a very solid offering.
  • Maker’s Mark is a good entry-level bourbon better suited for newbies as it has an easier and more approachable flavor profile. Great choice for those who want a non-challenging sip or an “everyday” uncomplicated dram.

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