“Knob Creek Rye Single Barrel: The Selection Process”
If you read that title too quickly, you may be tempted to think, “Hey, didn’t they already write about selecting Knob Creek Single Barrel?”
But, this is different. For the first time, to our collective knowledge, Wichita is getting a single barrel store pick rye whiskey. And not just any rye whiskey. Wichita is getting the Knob Creek Rye Single Barrel.
Once again, Tom’s Wine and Spirits did a tremendous job in laying the groundwork to get this opportunity.
While the release date has yet to be determined, here is a review of the selection process, and a preview of what you can expect from the barrel we selected.
Just like the single barrel bourbon, the Knob Creek Rye Single Barrel selection kit contained three samples – A, B, and C. Information was included with each sample regarding the age and warehouse location. Each sample is barrel proof. However, the Knob Creek Rye Single Barrel finished product will be bottled at 115 proof.
Barrel A – Barrel filled and entered the warehouse on November 12, 2012. It was stored on the 7th floor of a 7-floor warehouse (Warehouse 0), on rack 20, tier 1. The sample is 128.5 proof.
Barrel B – Barrel filled and entered the warehouse on October 22, 2012. It was stored on the 7th floor of a 7-floor warehouse (Warehouse 1), on rack 48, tier 2. The sample is 129 proof.
Barrel C – Barrel filled and entered the warehouse on November 21, 2011. It was stored on the 7th floor of a 7-floor warehouse (Warehouse Z), rack 34, tier 1. The sample is 130.2 proof.
Sample A (5 years and 3 months, 128.5 proof)
Nose: lightly herbal, light salted caramel and vanilla, lemongrass, young oak, pecan.
Palate: cake frosting, sweet – then a spice emerges, peppery and chilis, coffee cake with an orange glaze.
Finish: long, with the herbal tones strongest, followed by the rest of the palate, fishing off with some brie rind.
Sample B (5 years and 4 months, 129 proof)
Nose: Much more bourbon quality, cornbread, grainy, cornmeal, mint, little baking spice, sweet cinnamon sugar, vanilla.
Palate: mint bomb! Just like putting an Altoid in your mouth. There is also some apple and white sugar.
Finish: Very minty, dusty, baking spice, finishing off with baking soda that leaves the feeling similar to right after brushing your teeth.
Sample C (6 years and 3 months, 130.2 proof)
Nose: very balanced, sweet vanilla and herbs, brown sugar, leather, hay, basil, milk chocolate, oak, red apple, sugar in the raw.
Palate: peppermint patty, M&Ms, big mouthfeel, peppery, apple, berry, sugar in the raw, some mint.
Finish: sweet rye fresh baked bread, some mint and vanilla wafer cookie.
If life is like a box of chocolates, it could just as well be like a sample kit of Knob Creek Rye Single Barrel. Sample A we liked. It was not terribly complex or unique, but it was nice. It was safe. Sample B had no trouble holding our attention, but was so unbalanced towards the minty/toothpaste profile that we knew it was not destined to be our selection.
Then, there was Sample C. It was like a cinnamon apple pie sprinkled with peppermint patties. It checked several boxes – sweet, savory, herbal, and yet balanced. Whether this was due to the additional aging (being basically a year older than the other two samples) or some other variable, it seemed to have the right stuff. Selecting Sample C was a no-brainer.
We’re excited for the bottle shipments to arrive later this year. Stay tuned for an announcement on when to swing by Tom’s Wine and Spirits to grab your bottle of this 115 proof 6 year 3 month single barrel rye.
Gentlemen devoted to the finest.