Tag Archives: rye

Walk the Line: Knob Creek

knob creek walk the line

Knob Creek is a familiar name for whiskey drinkers and widely available. Here we’ll add another brand to our long-running Walk the Line series with Knob Creek, a Jim Beam brand (now owned by Suntory) and one of the best-selling “small batch” lines at Beam. Bourbon Curious, my bourbon reference bible, places Knob Creek’s line with the cinnamon-forward bourbons, like Wild Turkey, Bulleit and Four Roses, most of which are my favorite bourbons, so Knob Creek is in good company in my liquor cabinet.

Here are some notes on each, pictured from left to right above:

Knob Creek Bourbon. 100 proof, about $35. For a 100-proof bourbon, Knob Creek is surprisingly sweet and smooth. The mashbill isn’t released by the company, but I’m assuming it’s a pretty typical corn/rye/barley, maybe wheat. The blend is balanced and cool, with just a mild touch of rye spiciness to it. This is a 9 year old bourbon.

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon. 120 proof, about $45. Similar in taste to the staple bourbon, S.B.R. is a touch spicier and has a more pronounced barrel flavor. It’s not uncommon to find a “high-end” high-proof bourbon these days, but for $45, this is a bargain as well.

Knob Creek Rye. 100 proof, about $40. I love the bite of a high-rye whiskey, and Knob Creek isn’t quite that. Hear me out, though: this is a rye that I really love to drink. Again, Knob Creek’s mashbills are secret, but many (including me) suspect it’s just a reversed version of the bourbon recipe. That is to say, this is not the 95% or 100% rye mashbill that some others brag on, but this whiskey is a balanced experience with the right amount of sweet and spice and ultimately, it’s a sipper with a little more character than the spice bombs out there. Knob Creek’s ryes don’t currently have an age statement, they just say “patiently aged.”

Pow Wow Botanical Rye

pow wow botanica rye cocktail

The more I began to think about the liquid in my bottle of Pow Wow Botanical Rye, the more I was intrigued. Pow Wow is distilled from rye (as you’d expect from whiskey), it’s infused with botanicals during distillation (as you’d expect from gin). Then it’s aged in charred barrels (as you’d expect from whiskey). Did you catch that glitch-out in the middle? This is a rye that has some gin-like characteristics, and if you know anything about me, you know that this bottle of booze has the potential to be the most exciting thing I’ve ever tasted.

If you’re new here, I love gin and I love rye whiskey. Other liquor is good too, but those two are my faves. Pow Wow, which’ll run you about $40 a bottle, is one of the premium whiskeys managed by Georgetown Trading Co., whose catalog includes other whiskey brands too. Pow Wow really does have some gin characteristics, particularly in the scent of it, and if you’re a whiskey or gin lover, it’s totally worth trying.

pow wow botanica rye cocktail

Here’s a classic cocktail to try with Pow Wow:

Gall Bracer

  • 1 1/2 oz rye
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • 1 dash of grenadine
  • pour ingredients slowly over ice in an old fashioned glass
  • garnish with a cherry

Hudson Manhattan Rye

hudson manhattan rye

Hudson Manhattan Rye whiskey from New York is one of a very healthy catalog of spirits from Tuthilltown Spirits. Their whiskeys are packaged in uniquely short, stout, wax-coated bottles, most of them half-sized at 375 ml. These are hand-bottled, hand-numbered, small batch whiskies.

I found Hudson Manhattan Rye to have a pretty complex set of flavors. Rye is the spicy grain in the whiskey world, and this is certainly spicy, but I also discovered a tobacco flavor to Manhattan Rye that is rare in a whiskey of any variety. Imagine the sweet woodiness of a vanilla or cherry pipe tobacco, imagine that in a rye, and you’ll realize this whiskey is one of the more unique flavors in the liquor cabinet.

Whiskey lovers should add this to their wish list. Rye lovers will should enjoy it, too, because the variety of flavors you experience in one sip is significant. Hudson Manhattan Rye will run you about $45 for a bottle.