A comparative review of two excellent small batch, limited quantity, bourbons.

This fall I’ve been enjoying two new additions to my liquor cabinet. Both are of a same family of spirit and step outside my normal stomping ground. Just in time for your Christmas list, I will be reviewing and comparing two bourbons, Knob Creek and Basil Hayden’s here.

To start off -Try Bourbon! I have absolutely enjoyed the experience. Bourbon is not something you will likely go out to a dance club and order, it’s special. Perfect as a nightcap, afterwork treat, or with a delicious dinner. This holiday season I can imagine sitting with family and friends enjoying hot bourbon after a day on the slopes.

What is Bourbon? (Source: Wikipedia)

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey – a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. The name of the spirit derives from its historical association with an area known as Old Bourbon, around what is now Bourbon County, Kentucky (which, in turn, was named after the French House of Bourbon royal family). It has been produced since the 18th century. While it may be made anywhere in the United States, it is strongly associated with Kentucky specifically, and the American South in general.

My impression of Knob Creek (9 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey) was immediate and upon seeing the bottle. I think the bottle is very attractive and would make an excellent gift -it looks like an expensive luxury brand of spirit. The bottle is corked and dipped in wax to seal the top. It was a little difficult to remove the wax but well worth it. Once inside, the warm amber color draws you into the glass as you enjoy the warm rich body of the spirit. I found Knob better warm or hot than on ice as it has a slightly bitter taste when it’s cold. I found this bourbon smooth and clean – closer to Irish whiskey than to scotch or rye whiskey.

My impression of Basil Hayden’s (8 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey) was that I didn’t expect much as I personally didn’t like the bottle design, especially the sloppy oversized label. I thought the bottle seemed like it was over compensating for what was inside. The bottle was simple to open and uncork with a simple foil seal. This bourbon is the perfect example to use when quoting the popular phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” as what’s inside will truly impress. The honey peppermint flavor is absolutely delicious -very light, smooth, pleasant with little or no bite. Perfect on ice -which is my favorite way sip a delicious spirit. I absolutely would purchase this bottle again.

I am not an expert so I’ll include the manufacturers specifications at the end of the article for your benefit. What I can tell you with confidence is that Bourbon will now be on my shopping list when I hit the liquor store. I particularly enjoyed the Basil Hayden’s, so, if you’re in the neighborhood, drop me a line and we’ll enjoy a glass and a little holiday cheer this Christmas season.

Basil Hayden’s:

  • Age: 8 years
  • Proof: 80
  • Color: Golden amber
  • Aroma: Spice, tea, hint of peppermint
  • Taste: Spicy, peppery, honey, light-bodied, gentle bite
  • Finish: Dry, clean, brief
  • Award: Silver Medal Button

Knob Creek:

  • Age: 9 years
  • Proof: 100
  • Color: Copper to medium amber
  • Aroma: Toasted nuts, grain oak
  • Taste: Rich, sweet, woody, full-bodied, almost fruity
  • Finish: Long, rich and glowing
  • Award: National Champion Whiskey