Two great Kentucky bourbons are back this month: Knob Creek makes its triumphant return to a 9-year age statement, and it will release a new batch of Knob Creek 12-Year Bourbon. The two new releases are a good sign for bourbon supply—though the 12-year is a new product released last year, the 9-Year bourbon was discontinued nearly half a decade ago, with no word on if or when it would ever return.
Knob Creek announced it would be dropping the 9-year label in the fall of 2016, as demand during the bourbon boom began to aggressively outpace supply.
Whiskeys, by law, can only be labeled with the age of the youngest liquid used in the recipe in most countries. Typically, a 9-year whiskey is actually a blend of whiskeys ranging from 9-15 years of age, or more; small batch whiskeys are rarely, if ever, composed entirely of whiskeys of a single age, because using younger and older stock together allows the blender to add complexity and depth to the product.
When a whiskey maker doesn’t have enough 9-year whiskey, they can often tweak the blend to get the same flavor profile with a new balance, but this often requires the use of younger stock.
Beam Suntory, the makers of Knob Creek, faced a similar problem for many distilleries: It would take years of aging for supply to catch up with the demand. The same problems have befallen whiskey brands around the world in the last decade, as Kentucky, Scotland, Japan, and other countries have had to change batching recipes to meet the demand. Nearly four years later, it seems Beam thinks it can match demand again.
The best news within the news is that the new 9-year-old Knob Creek Bourbon will only have a suggested retail price of $29, making it one of the most affordable age stated bourbons on the market. It’s a spicy, toasted-oak forward bourbon with sweet hints of chocolate and caramel.Get it
But Knob Creek hasn’t stopped there; in addition to the new regular production 9-year whiskey, it’s also releasing a supply of 12-year bourbon to market this month. The extra three years give 12-Year added layers of vanilla, oaky spice and tannin, and a subtle hint of cherry.
12-Year will retail for $59, and while the supply is significantly smaller, Beam Suntory has confirmed that this is now a permanent member of the Knob Creek portfolio. It’s not hard to see why a 12-year bourbon under $60 was so well received, but knowing that we’ll be seeing a lot more of it is something worth toasting.Get it
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