Like I've said in previous posts, I'm expecting 2015 to be a big year for Jim Beam. In the middle of an American whiskey melee the Kentucky giant is sitting on huge stocks of mature Bourbon and is slowly starting to come out of hibernation. They tested the waters last year with the Maker's Mark Cask Strength Edition, which blew out of here like a Loretto tornado. They know they're on to something with higher proof expressions. I've been making sure to request samples of all their single barrel marks, as well; just to make sure we're not missing anything. You can't know if you don't taste! Thank goodness we kept ourselves in the loop because we recently snagged a lovely little number from Knob Creek: a 120 proof juggernaut that brings the punch without all the sugar. Personally, I enjoy making Old Fashioneds and Manhattans with rye whiskey rather than Bourbon. Sweet Bourbon with sweet vermouth usually results in one sweet headache for me. This Knob Single Barrel, however, is dynamite in a cocktail. The initial sip shows powerful spice and dry woody notes before a bit of vanilla helps round out the next transition. The sweetness is brief and balanced before bringing loads of baking spices and peppery goodness out the back end. Beam is beginning to put on their big boy pants. The beast is awakening.
And this lovely little sipper just snuck back into our warehouse. I've been told this is the last pure Kentucky batch before the production switches over to Indiana. Always a creamy, soft, and easy drinking whiskey.
Hirsch Straight Bourbon Small Batch Reserve $39.99 - This is one of the great bourbon deals that K&L has to offer. It is a soft, creamy, rich, and semi-sweet whiskey that drinks far above its price point. For all of those who long for Black Maple Hill, the Hirsch might be just a bit better. Always a top-seller and a customer favorite, we just need to keep it in stock!