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Knob Creek vs Woodford Reserve: Which Wins?

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

Knob Creek 9 Year Old Straight Bourbon

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, Maker’s Mark

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 thick 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 (Alternatives) is bottled at 100 proof, making it a high proof spirit, but it goes down nicely as there 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 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% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley; Jim Beam uses the same mashbill.
  • Knob Creek Bourbon was created by Booker Noe, who after joining Jim Beam in 1950 was promoted to Master Distiller just ten years later.
  • It is named for small water source in Kentucky close to where Abraham Lincoln grew up, it is said that the creek nearly claimed his life when he was swimming.
  • Knob Creek is part of Jim Beam which belongs to Beam Suntory a Japanese drinks giant.

Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon

NoseMint, honey, vanilla, citrus
PalateSweet oak, cinnamon, mint, ripe fruit
FinishOak, caramel, baking spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toMaker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, Elijah Craig

Woodford Reserve Bourbon (Review) is quite pleasant on the nose with mint and honeyed notes.

On the palate it is sweet and spicy yet overly smooth. Some oak up front, but not too much.

Transitioning to a sweeter taste with a long warm and satisfying finish that lingers.

Everything is nicely balanced, the body is creamy and does not have any off-putting or complicated notes.

It makes a great sip due to its smoothness but yet spicy cinnamon notes. This is a sweet and mellow dram that drinkers of all levels will appreciate alike.

Excellent everyday bourbon, smooth and clean, good both neat and on the rocks.

Not my favorite whiskey to make cocktails as I feel it lacks the punch to deliver tasty cocktails. The Woodford Rye makes a better whiskey as the added spice makes cocktails more interesting.

Consider further options by looking at my list of similar Bourbons to Woodford Reserve!

There are a few facts worth knowing about Woodford Reserve:

  • Woodford’s mash bill is made from 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% barley; the rye content makes it a bit spicy.
  • This bourbon ages for 7 years in one of the few warehouses that uses heat cycling. This process involves cooling and heating the air to closely control the aging.
  • The brand belongs to Brown-Forman who also owns Jack Daniel’s, Herradura Tequila, Old Forester and along a few other brands.

If you ever visit the state of Kentucky I strongly suggest you to visit the Woodford Reserve Distillery, established in 1812, part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and considered a National Historic Landmark.

Knob Creek 9 Year vs Woodford Reserve Bourbon: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon$38
Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon$40

Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve: Which is better?

Knob Creek is a more complex and satisfying bourbon

WhiskeyKnob CreekWoodford Reserve
  • These bourbons are quite popular for two good reasons: they taste good and are attractively priced.
  • Personally, I prefer the Knob Creek as the higher proof doesn’t feel, yet provides more body while making it more flavorful.
  • Woodford Reserve is smoother, with a pleasing toasted oak note, along a good balance between sweetness and spice providing a satisfying experience.
  • Whichever you choose rest assured will provide a satisfying experience but when in doubt I always recommend taking the higher proof option and add water if needed.

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