We tend to think of ourselves as pretty opened minded and open taste-budded reviewers. Our mind and bud perspectives were thrown for a loop with this past blind review. With the beauty of The Charred Barrel Society’s blind review process, we tend to find ourselves continually surprised with the results of our blind taste test. However, with this week’s TCBS review of Knob Creek’s small batch 1oo proof aged 9 year Kentucky straight bourbon, the results were not what we were initially expecting of this perceived mid to top-shelf bourbon.
The night started with a simple bottle of unknown origins being poured into unmarked glasses- an equal distribution of lightly amber colored liquid for reviewers waiting in anticipation for their first approach to the night’s tasting. Glasses were raised in a newly established TCBS fashion and a toast was made to the inaugural blind tasting of TCBS. Being that we have never had an official blind tasting before at The Charred Barrel Society, it was interesting to experience the first set of results.
After a first approach and getting to know this unknown beverage by smell, there are a lot of flavors that instantaneously made themselves known to the nose. Hints of raspberry, vanilla and oak were apparent right away. Of course the first approach definitely has an effect on how the first taste goes. What most of our tasters were not expecting was the initial hit that this drink offered, meaning that some of our tasters experienced an initial airiness that caused coughs and a sense of your breath being taken away. Now this is not an uncommon effect when the whiskey or bourbon has a higher proof rating; if you are a whiskey drinker that hangs around in the 80 proof, the 100 proof of Knob Creek will definitely have an initial stronger experience. Also if you are an inexperienced whiskey bourbon drinker, then we do not recommend Knob Creek for a first-time experience, as it will take a more adept pallet to enjoy the flavors that Knob Creek has to offer. However, even for the experienced whiskey drinker, Knob Creek can still offer a very strong initial first taste.
With the taste profiles established from the blind tasting, our society members moved into scoring this drink. On our scale of 0-4 fingers, 0 representing we would never drink this again to 4 fingers being total whiskey euphoria, we rated Knob Creek 9 year 100 proof a 1.35 fingers rating averaged from all the individual society members’ scores.
The bottle was pulled out of its hiding place and shown to all the tasters. With astonishment, our members were taken aback that they had rated a well-known drink so low on our scale. Because of the realization of the brand, the ratings immediately were second-guessed and requested to be adjusted after knowing the bottle, which of course was denied. Results are totally different than expectations because of the blind element of the tastings.
With the blind tasting standing at 1.37, the society states that this drink for the price should have a better blind rating. The society recommends Knob Creek 9 year 100 proof as good for solo drinking at the average bottle price, good for cocktails requiring a strong proof to counter sweetness and for enjoying with a mild cigar.
To Friends, Fellowship, and The Society.