By Richard Thomas
In the minds of many bourbon drinkers, Knob Creek is the core of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection. A 9 year old small batch that is neither as light as Basil Hayden or as potent as Booker’s or Baker’s, for more than twenty years Knob Creek has been the go-to bourbon for many drinkers in search of good quality at a reasonable price. Thus, the Knob Creek brand has served as the platform for a handful of premium whiskeys from Jim Beam. First came the Knob Creek Single Barrel and then the Knob Creek Rye, and now comes a new Beam entry into flavored whiskeys, the Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon.
Due for release in a matter of days, Knob Creek Smoked Maple is billed as “bring[ing] the big, full signature flavor of its namesake bourbon together with a touch of maple and hint of smoke.” At a glance, the upcoming flavored bourbon release has a few differences from its Knob Creek forebear. Smoked Maple is 90 rather than 100 proof, and is a no aging statement (NAS) product. The suggested retail price will be $30.99.
Flavored whiskey has been a subject of some controversy among diehard whiskey fans, many of whom think of flavored whiskey as a mixology product at best and a cover-up of inferior whiskey at worst. However, I’ve noticed that not all devoted whiskey drinkers share this opinion, with honeyed and maple-flavored whiskeys scoring high among those who liked the flavoring spin.
Although The Whiskey Reviewer was given an opportunity for a sneak preview at an early R&D sample of the Smoked Maple, which is what all reviews published to date were based on. We preferred to wait for the commercial release, so as to review the very thing that will appear on store shelves. When the Knob Creek Smoked Maple goes into distribution, The Whiskey Reviewer will be there with an ASAP review.