For the whisky enthusiast who enjoys bold flavours, cask-strength bottles are among the most coveted expressions in any distillery’s lineup. I grabbed this bottle of Knob Creek with a wedding in mind – not as a present but rather for my flask. The high alcohol content makes the best of the flask’s necessarily limited capacity, and the inevitably punchy taste makes the flask last longer. The Single Barrel Reserve is nine years old and bottled at an anesthetizing 60% abv.
Nose: A hint of plum, delicious dried fruit, not terribly alcoholic despite its strength. Spicy with cloves and allspice, cigar tobacco, and just a bit of the standard bourbon sourness. Slightly floral and not overly oaky.
Palate:Very sweet, dried fruit continues, a bit of salt, pleasantly warm and spicy. A bit of water brings out the sweetness and reduces the heat though I’d consider it unnecessary.
Finish:Lingering supple heat with oak and spice vapours.
Overall: A lascivious whisky, Single Barrel Reserve majestically balances spice, wood, heat, and floral notes without the brutish character common in cask-strength whiskies. Currently at the LCBO for $55 and in limited quantity, this is an essential bottle for high-proof bourbon lovers.