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Knob Creek Rye vs Woodford Reserve Rye: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Knob Creek Rye vs Woodford Reserve Rye in this in-depth comparison and decide which Rye Whiskey is better for You!

Knob Creek Rye

NoseCherry, rye spice, oak
PalateOak, cherry, tobacco
FinishCaramel, old leather, dried fruit
Alcohol content100 proof (50% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toBulleit Rye, Jim Beam Rye

Knob Creek is a “barely legal” rye whiskey as it only has a bit over the minimum of this spicy grain to belong to this category.

This makes it taste like a spicy version of the regular Knob Creek.

The nose brings the same cherry note as the Knob Creek Bourbon along notes of rye spice and toasty oak.

On the palate you get some rye spiciness while the high corn content in the mash makes it sweet. It has a thick oily mouthfeel and a flavor rich in oak, cherries and nice caramel with little to no burn.

The finish is long and pleasantly warm, rich in cinnamon, brown sugar, dried fruit and a faint rubber note lurking in the back.

The Knob Creek achieves a decent balance of spice, wood and dark fruit. It drinks nicely straight out of the bottle, with a splash of water, or after letting it breathe for a few minutes as it seems to improve over time.

The thick creamy body gives additional points to this dram and the fact that it does not drink like a 100 proof bottle as it has very little burn.

Overall, the Knob Creek Rye makes a good option for those who want to enjoy a good Rye Whiskey with moderate rye spice or a “ryed bourbon” as I would call it.

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

  • The contents in the mash are not disclosed but the rye content is just over the minimum of 51% required by law.
  • This whiskey is labeled as “Patiently Aged” which is the nice way of implying that it does not have an age statement.
  • Won “Best Rye Worldwide Whiskey” at the 2016 International Wine and Spirits Competition.
  • Crafted at the Jim Distillery, property of Beam Suntory.

Woodford Reserve Rye

NoseOak, vanilla, rye spice
PalateRipe fruit, rye spice, vanilla, oak
FinishLong, vanilla, tobacco, oak spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toBulleit Rye, Rittenhouse Rye

The Woodford Reserve Rye is a “barely legal” Rye Whiskey as it only carries a bit over the minimum of rye in the mash established by law to belong to this category.

This makes it taste like a spicy version of the much beloved regular Woodford Reserve and the best Woodford Reserve for mixing.

The nose rich in oak at first and as you let it develop vanilla and rye spice appear.

First sip provides mild rye spice followed by rich and sweet hints of vanilla and a fruity note that tastes like apricot. The body has a good texture, not too creamy but thick nonetheless.

The finish is long and pleasantly warm with little burn leaving vanilla and a bit of oak spice.

The Woodford Reserve Rye drinks nicely neat, due to its low rye content it does not have much spiciness making it quite easy to sip.

If you add a little ice it will become even smoother and will bring out some sweet vanilla making it more enjoyable.

It shares many features of the much beloved Woodford Reserve such as the signature toasty note oak, yet I prefer the Rye over the Bourbon as this provides tastier cocktails due to the spicy character of rye.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Woodford Reserve Rye:

  • Made from a mash of 53% rye, 33% corn and 14% malted barley.
  • There is no age statement on the bottle, but it is a straight rye so that means it’s at least 4 years old.
  • Woodford Reserve Rye is crafted in its own distillery in Woodford County, Kentucky.
  • The Woodford Reserve brand is owned by Brown Forman who also holds Jack Daniel’s, Old Forester and Herradura Tequila.

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Knob Creek Rye$35
Woodford Reserve Rye$32

Knob Creek Rye vs Woodford Reserve Rye: Which is better?

Woodford Reserve is a nicer drinker

WhiskeyKnob Creek RyeWoodford Rye
  • It has many of the signature features of its bourbon sibling but the additional rye in the mash makes it better by adding a nice spicy note that drinks nicely neat or rocks.
  • Knob Creek is quite good, just that the Woodford drinks nicer as the toasty oak, along the caramel and spice deliver a nicely balanced pour.

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