Single Barrel Tour with Matt the Beer Guy
This is the first post in an on-going series of single barrel whiskey picked exclusively for Midtown.
Jim Beam: Knob Creek Single Barrel
An Introductory Experience
I enjoyed the trip to Jim Beam for my first barrel tasting and selection. The whiskey was great to try and meeting Master Distiller Fred Noe was a trip. It’s impressive to be met by the master distiller and see that his office is the first one as you enter.
Now, I was warned about Fred: He makes no changes to his style for anyone, meaning, he’s going to be the good ol’ boy from the country, cussing and all. He know his stuff though and was fun and interesting to talk to.
After introductions, we headed to the barrel warehouse for the tasting. It was awesome to be let into the storehouse to see all of the stored barrels and smell all of the aging bourbon. We were presented with 3 barrels, each stored in a different location but *I believe* aged for the same length of time. One of the storehouse managers showed us how to hammer out the bunghole and pour the samples. We were set to taste!
Now comes the point of contention from Midtown: We were presented with plastic cups. As a wine, spirits and craft beer store, we pride ourselves and appreciate the appropriate glassware. Unfortunately, this falls short. That being said, the bourbon itself did not.
The fun of tasting straight from the barrel, is that the bourbon is barrel strength, aka not watered down. The Knob Creek we tasted was all above 100 proof and thus pretty hot. That is why Fred recommended we add a bit of water in order to bring the simulated proof roughly down to single barrel bottle standards. We tried them barrel strength first and then added a bit of water.
My favorite was one of the smoother bourbons as I love the carmel and vanilla notes that I associate with “smoothness”. That explains my taste for Woodford Reserve. The last of the barrels, we all agreed, was definitely not up too par; it tasted less complex than once would expect. The third barrel had a decent bit more spice and good depth. We decided upon this barrel as once our customers would love.
After deciding, we were taken for lunch and given a tour. The new touring facilities and visitors’ center are impressive. They have a mini distillery setup just for touring and it gives a fun, interactive aspect to the process.
Overall, my first single barrel tasting was a fun and informative experience. I hope you like the Knob Creek. We’ll let you know when it arrives.