This past month, Beam-Suntory dropped yet another new Knob Creek Rye to the market. This time – unlike the “premium” Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye at 119.6 Proof and carrying a 9 year age statement, and the Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye store picks at 115 proof and available age statements, both hitting the market this past year – Beam released the Twice Barreled Rye with no age statement and at the traditional Knob Creek 100 proof.
Like other “double barreled” whiskeys hitting the market, this Knob Creek Twice Barreled Rye begins its life as ordinary Knob Creek Rye, but then is finished in new, heavily charred oak barrels. To be considered a “Rye” under the American legal definition, the distillate must be aged in a new charred oak container. Presumably, this was finished in new charred oak barrels, to avoid the oddity of calling this a “finished Rye” but instead can simply be labeled as a “Rye.” Beam has chosen, however, to call this a Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey – Secondary Oak Finish.
Earlier this year, we took a look at the standard Knob Creek Rye, as well as the Cask Strength Rye, and the Tom’s Handey Rye by Flight Club store pick that we helped select. We have been fairly impressed with each of these. When this new Twice Barreled Rye hit, we were anxious to pick one up and give it a try.
Knob Creek Twice Barreled Rye (110 Proof) (NAS)
Nose: Dry but youthful oak; young grain; maple oatmeal; clove; char; brown sugar and artificial butterscotch; apple crisp topping; light semi-sweet chocolate; light baking spice; light vanilla. This comes across as aggressively young in a small barrel craft sort of way. (2/5)
Palate: Decent mouthfeel. Initial maple oatmeal/youthful oak, but with a sharp sugar sweetness; apricot; apple; baking spice (cinnamon, allspice; clove); honey; oak; pepper. The flavors are lopsided in favor of maple/white sugar sweetness with little other significant complexity. (2.5/5)
Finish: Short to Medium. Honey; baking spice; brown sugar; oak; apple; light orange citrus. (2.5/5)
Overall: I prefer regular Knob Creek Rye over this Twice Barreled Rye at every step of the way. The added barrel finish does what many twice-barreled whiskies tend to do: leave the unwanted new barrel taste. This was less than satisfying. (2.5/5)
Value: This MSRP’s locally for around $45. This is 50% higher than the standard Knob Creek Rye (or more), and the same price as some of the amazing Knob Creek Single Barrel Ryes, like the Tom’s Handey Rye by Flight Club. This is really disappointing. (2/5)
“The added barrel finish does what many twice-barreled whiskies tend to do: leave the unwanted new barrel taste.”
Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.