Spirit Of The Week: Knob Creek 18 Year Old Bourbon

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Booker Noe’s seminal Small Batch Bourbon Collection, Knob Creek dropped its oldest whiskey yet.

(Knob Creek)

Exactly 30 years ago the legendary Booker Noe — grandson of bourbon Mount Rushmore bust Jim Beam — released the Small Batch Bourbon Collection, forever changing the American whisky landscape.

Booker’s prescience cannot be overstated, as the in the 1980s, the global whiskey industry was languishing precariously on the cliff of disaster, with distilleries from Speyside to Louisville locking their warehouse doors and mothballing their stills in droves.

Yet the ambitious sixth Generation Master Distiller still believed in crafting and bottling the finest whiskey he could, so in 1992 Booker birthed The Small Batch Bourbon Collection with a now-renowned set of Bourbon Quadruplets: Booker’s, Baker’s 7-Year Old Single Barrel, Knob Creek 9-Year Old and Basil Hayden. All have grown to become bourbon staples in their own right.

(Knob Creek)

“It’s an honor to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Small Batch Bourbon Collection and continue to pay homage to Dad’s legacy by producing high-quality small batch bourbon that I know he’d still be proud to serve today,” says Fred Noe, himself a seventh-generation Master Distiller.

“When I think back, I’m in awe of his vision and dedication to give bourbon drinkers a collection of bourbon that tastes great in a style that hadn’t been done before — and that’s something that I still strive for when working in the rackhouse.”

To celebrate three decades of the landmark collection Jim Beam is releasing some true heaters, including the recently-launched Knob Creek 18-Year-Old. The very limited production whiskey is the oldest Knob Creek expression ever released, aged twice as long as its flagship bourbon.

The pre-prohibition style bourbon that Booker created in 1992 spends even more time in their Kentucky rickhouses soaking in Knob Creek’s maximum charred American Oak barrels, earning long notes of caramelized oak, sweet vanilla and brown sugar — not to mention a luxurious deep auburn hue.

Bottled at 100-proof, Knob Creek 18 Year Old boasts a SRP of $170, but will quite likely fetch quite a bit more in the open market.

Follow our Contributing Spirits Editor on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.