Knob Creek 12 Year Cask Strength is the cask strength bourbon of Knob Creek’s 12 year bottle. In 2019, Knob Creek released their 12 year as a limited selection. However, after they saw great success, they decided to keep the 12 year around as a staple. While most bottles of Knob Creek are 100 proof, their cask strength is a present to those who like stronger bourbon as it comes in around 120 proof depending on the batch.
In this review, we’re going to discuss all you need to know about Knob Creek 12 Year Cask Strength. Is it good? Is it worth it? Is it better than the regular 12 year? We’re also going to touch on the flavor profile and review it as well. Before we get there lets talk some about Knob Creek to give you a frame of reference.
Knob Creek Summary
Knob Creek is a bourbon whiskey distilled in Clermont, KY at the Jim Beam distillery alongside Booker’s, Baker’s, and Basil Hayden’s. It is a high-end, top shelf whiskey that is made from a mash bill of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley.
Knob Creek’s original bourbon is the 9 year straight bourbon whiskey. However, they now have many other options in their lineup. Among those is the 12 year, Rye whiskey, Single Barrel Select, Single Barrel Rye, Reserve Single Barrel, and Smoked Maple. These are the whiskeys listed on their website currently as they are all a part of the standard lineup. The cask strength, 12 year cask strength, and the 25th anniversary are just a couple that have come out as limited edition.
Before we get into the review of Knob Creek 12 Year Cask Strength, let’s cover what we think and what people say about their original 9 year. This way, you can compare the 9 year original to the 12 year cask strength and decide which is right for you.
Knob Creek 9 year
Knob Creek Straight Bourbon Whiskey 9 year is generally regarded as a very good whiskey, especially for the price. It can usually be found right around the $35 mark, and a quality bourbon aged 9 years for under $40 is a great deal.
Knob Creek tends to be nutty and oaky, with hints of vanilla and caramel. It’s fairly light on the palate, and the finish has be described as leather and a peppery spice. This is really just our brief review of the 9 year that we can base the 12 year cask strength off. So, without further ado, let’s get to the real reason you’re here.
Knob Creek 12 Year Cask Strength Review
Knob Creek 12 Year Cask Strength (and 12 year) have a lot more depth than the 9 year does. Before I get into the flavor profile, let me preface this: Knob Creek 12 year cask strength will put some hair on your chest. This is not an entry-level bourbon, and if you don’t like high ABV bourbon then tread carefully.
Each batch of the 12 Year Cask Strength is a little different and the proof can vary. For the sake of the review, I had the 120.5 proof (60.25% abv) neat, but stronger batches are out there.
Nose: As far as the nose goes, it was more pleasant than expected. It was mostly toasted oak, nutty, with some caramel and vanilla scents. You can certainly smell the ethanol and it is strong, but the smells were rich which made the scent more fresh. (The Knob Creek 12 Year is all the rich flavors with the ethanol turned down a bit).
Palate: Just like with the nose, I was surprised. The nose translates right over to the palate and you get nutty, vanilla, and caramel flavors that fill your mouth. As it goes down, you get hints of pepper and some light fruit. For being 120 proof, so far it’s been surprisingly mild, likely covered up by the richness and quality.
Finish: Remember when I said this drink would put hair on your chest? This is where that hair begins to grow. It begins with leather and oak, but quickly becomes overtaken by the heat and spice of pepper.
12 Year Cask Strength Final Thoughts
I thoroughly enjoyed Knob Creek 12 Year Cask Strength. It is a high quality straight bourbon, and I think anyone who enjoys high percentage whiskey should have a bottle or at least try it. 120 proof is a little strong for me to drink neat at this point, hence why the finish had my mouth and chest burning a bit. However, I will certainly enjoy drinking it more over ice.
For around $90 this is probably not a bottle that I’m going to always have around. Yet. For right now, I’d more likely buy the 12 year which still has some extra strength at 100 proof.
12 Year Cask Strength General Overview
Mashbill: 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malted barley
Aged: 12 years
ABV: 60.25% or 120.5 proof
Knob Creek is a product of the Jim Beam Distillery. Check out our thoughts on Jim Beam in our comparison guide here.