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Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Party & Barrel with Fred Noe

Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Celebration & Barrel

 

 

Knob CreekKnob Creek 25th Anniversary Party & Barrel recently released a highly allocated, cask strength, unfiltered single barrel in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the brand. Just prior to the release, we were told about this special bottling and asked to be part of a select few to come to Kentucky for a huge celebration and to taste a single barrel that Fred Noe had selected just for Ace Spirits. This is a release of only 16 single barrels all at cask strength for restaurants and retailers. We would be one of only 9 retailers invited and receiving barrels. Needless to say, I was pretty excited.

The shindig was set up at a relatively recently acquired piece of property just next to Beam’s Clermont, Kentucky distillery. It was primarily acquired for the water source in the back, but there is a quaint house on the expansive property as well as a car port that was transformed into a swank bar for this event. There was music, fishing, bags (aka: cornhole), a barrel charring demonstration, cocktail contest, and of course plenty of food and booze.

 

 

 

For me, the highlight of the day was the Oink & Barrel tasting that paired different Knob Creek releases with different country hams. This was the highlight partly because bacon is AWESOME and partly because things got somewhat fuzzy soon after. Four different Knob Creek whiskeys and four different Country Ham producers, culminating with the 25th Anniversary and a ham smoked in Fred Noe’s back yard. I’d never done this type of pairing before.  It started with a taste of whiskey, then a taste of ham, then a revisit of the whiskey. The result in your mouth is sort of like magic. Weird, oily explosions and all sorts of crazy flavors dancing all over your tongue. Ohmigosh.

What followed was an excellent battery of pre-batched cocktails that went down far too easily, an interesting demonstration of barrel charring by the folks at International Stave, a cocktail competition, and a couple totally inept rounds of bags (a game fondly called cornhole here in Minnesota). I consciously refrained from saying the word “cornhole” as I was in the woods of Kentucky after dark with a bunch of locals that were drinking. All ended without incident, but I will say that the ibuprofen included in the welcome bag was appreciated when the 9AM buzzer roused me from my slumber.

 

Day 2 wasThe tent at Warehouse K held just outside of Warehouse K- the location of all Single Barrel selections for Knob Creek. Once again, the folks at Beam pulled out all the stops with a tent setup that included a bar and a country breakfast that would soak up yesterday’s sins. Once again, there were games and shenanigans as waves of people were introduced to the barrels of 25th Anniversary that Fred had chosen for them. While we were waiting, three very special barrels were popped open in the tent- Knob Creek Rye.

Previously unavailable as a single barrel, this was a prequel for a fall product launch of 30 seven year old barrels that will be bottled at 115 proof. We had the opportunity to sample three cask strength barrels from from very different parts of the warehouses. Tasting proof ranged from 117-127 and the range in flavors was wide. I’m not the biggest rye fan, but the samples from the lower racks where excellent- especially with some water. After a bit more sun and food, it was our turn to head into the warehouse to be introduced to our barrel of Knob Creek 25th Anniversary.

Knob Creek Rye Single BarrelI’ve picked a whole lot of single barrels over the years, and the Knob Creek barrels are consistently some of the best. When choosing, I get to sample bourbon directly from the barrel- a treat that’s never lost on me, and ever since the very first barrel pick I’ve unsuccessfully begged them to bottle at cask strength. While Fred Noe probably won’t stand over a barrel of bourbon and serve you samples from a whiskey thief, this is as close as you’re going to get to that experience at home.

Our barrel was an absolute stunner that clocked in at just over 125 proof. It will sit a bit longer before being bottled in August, so proof will change slightly. Out of the barrel, it wasn’t so much hot as it was tight. Some air helped with that, but a tiny bit of water and BAM!!!! This was one of those mystical honey barrels. Having tried some of the other barrels that day, I’m quite happy with the barrel that was allocated to Ace Spirits- Crazy complex and hitting all the right notes that an exceptional bourbon should. Others that sampled our barrel had a bit of envy in their eyes- some even commented aloud. In all, the perfect cap to a perfect couple days and a highly anticipated delivery that is expected in September of 2017.

Pre-Order yours here and check out a few more pics of the event below…

 

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Comment ( 1 )

  1. / Chuck Shaw
    Louis, I am so glad you came to the event. In my 27 years in the distilled spirits industry this was the most enjoyable and fun filled event I've been to (so far...I plan on attending many more ;-). I've got your blue ribbon for the "bag toss". You came in first place for form and fun!! Can't wait to see you in MN again, Cheers Chuck

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