A Muscular Nine-Year-Old

Back in the 1980s, the late Booker Noe, master distiller emeritus of Jim Beam, created what many have come to regard as the modern-day equivalent of pre-Prohibition bourbon, Knob Creek. Aged for nine years (and one of the few bourbons to carry an age statement on the bottle), it was named after the creek that flows past Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home, not far from the distillery. It also became one of the most popular of Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. Now Booker’s son, seventh-generation distiller Fred Noe, has upped the ante with Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve ($39.99), boosting the already muscular 100 proof Knob Creek to a biceps-bulging 120 proof. This is not a bourbon for the faint of heart, but it is a meaty libation that asks only for a cube of ice or perhaps a splash of distilled water. Barrels for this powerhouse are carefully hand selected, which brings out even more of Knob Creek’s signature thick vanilla, caramel, and smoky flavors. It also makes an extremely potent Manhattan. (www.knobcreek.com)

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