Knob Creek 12 Year Bourbon

Knob Creek 12 Year Old Bourbon was first released back in 2019 as a limited edition, but became a permanent member of the Knob Creek line in 2020. It was initially released at 100 proof, similar to their flagship 9 year bourbon. Interestingly, at the time of Knob 12 Year's release, the flagship bourbon had no age statement. Beam removed it back in 2016 citing shortages of 9 year old whiskey, but then brought it back in 2020. Also, to add to the confusion, their was a brief limited release of Knob Creek 12 year at cask strength back in the Fall of 2020. So how is the Knob Creek 12 Year Old Bourbon? Read our review and find out!

Knob Creek 12 Year
Small Batch
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Aged Twelve Years
100 Proof
Knob Creek Distilling Company
Clermont, Kentucky
MSRP: $66-$73 retail as of Nov 2022
Review

Please enjoy our Knob Creek 12 Year Bourbon Review!

Knob Creek 12 Year Bourbon – A Limited Edition In 2019

Knob Creek 12 Year Old Bourbon was first released back in 2019 as a limited edition, but became a permanent member of the Knob Creek line in 2020. It was initially released at 100 proof, similar to their flagship 9 year old bourbon. Interestingly, at the time of Knob 12 Year’s release, the flagship bourbon had no age statement. Beam removed it back in 2016, citing shortages of 9 year old whiskey, but then brought it back in 2020. So this 12 year old was a very welcome surprise! Also, to add to the confusion, their was a brief limited release of Knob Creek 12 year at cask strength back in the Fall of 2020. However, we haven’t seen that one again. But the 100 proof version is still going strong!

First Taste Gone Wrong

I first tasted the Knob Creek 12 Year Bourbon after a pour of a Knob Creek 15 year old 120 proof store pick. The 100 proof 12 year did not fare well. So I am trying to level the playing field by comparing it to a bourbon of the same proof. The flagship Knob Creek 9 yr 100 proof seemed like the perfect comparison. Plus, it will be good to know if it is worth the money to upgrade to the 12 year from the regular release.

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Tasting Notes

Let’s Taste Them!

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Knob Creek 9 Year Bourbon 100 Proof

👉Nose: Rye spices, caramel, cherry, cedar, vanilla & light char; moderate alcohol.
👉Taste: Caramel, brown sugar sweetness, rye spices & a hint of ginger snaps.
👉Finish: Sweetness continues and then diminishes, but picks up some cookie dough along the way; oak, char & dryness build into the long finish. Moderate burn.

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Knob Creek 12 Year Bourbon 100 Proof

👉Nose: Vanilla, caramel, cedar, oak, rye spices & brown sugar with cherry in the background; moderate alcohol. Although there are some similarities, there are full rich flavors in the nose of the Knob Creek 12 year which are not present in the 9 year.
👉Taste: Caramel, rye spices & oak with some brown sugar sweetness.
👉Finish: Sweetness continues and picks up a bit of spice. Oak, char, black pepper spice and dryness build in the long finish. Moderate burn.

Knob Creek 12 Year Bourbon vs Knob Creek 9 Year Bourbon Summary

The flagship Knob Creek 9 Year Old Bourbon has its rye spices, cedar and cherry more at the forefront in the nose than the 12 year, which has more vanilla, caramel and rich pastry notes forward. In the taste, the flavors overall are more intense in the 9 year and have mellowed in the 12 year. However, that is not to say that the 12 year is bland, not at all.

The 12 Year Is A More Balanced Bourbon

The Knob Creek 12 Year Bourbon is overall more balanced than the 9 year, with sweetness, caramel, vanilla and oak all combining in perfect harmony. The finishes are similar, but more subdued in the 12 year. Overall, the 12 year has much richer flavors throughout, mellowed and harmonized a bit by age. The one flavor that is more pronounced in the 12 year, which might be a bit controversial, is the oak, as would be expected. But, it is not overpowering at all, and the balance of flavors is pretty near perfect, at least for my palate.

Knob Creek Bourbon Twelve Years Aged Label
Knob Creek 12 Years Aged Bourbon Label
Conclusion

These two Knob Creek bourbons have similar flavors. It is the balance, and “richness” that is different between the two. The “in your face” sharper flavors of the 9 year old Knob Creek are a bit more subdued in the 12 year old, and definitely in a good way. The 12 year also has a more pronounced pastry-like character, and the richness in the Knob Creek 12 Year continues throughout. Indeed, that richness is just not present in the 9 year old Knob Creek at 100 proof. The 12 year definitely tastes older and more mature.

If I had to choose between these two bourbons, and I very well might, this is what I might do. For a delicious neat pour, Knob Creek 12 year is the clear winner. For cocktails, the 9 year probably would stand out more, and would certainly be the more affordable choice. Do you agree??

I hope you have enjoyed our Knob Creek 12 Year Bourbon Review! Next, check out our Knob Creek 18 Year Bourbon Review!

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