Knob Creek Comes Out on Top in Part 1 of the $26-$40 Bourbon Taste-Off


August 6, 2020

When jumping into the $26 to $40 category, I knew this was gonna be expensive and filled with everyday gems.

I walked into the popular liquor store Westport Whiskey & Wine and was blown away what was in this price point. A handful of craft whiskeys, such as WadeLynn Ranch and Devils River, and some I thought would have been in previous price points. Wild Turkey 101, for example, which was not available in my previous shop, was $25.99.

Some folks snapped picks of their Wild Turkey being up to $10 less. So, it’s at this point where I remind folks of the exercise: I walk into a liquor store, with the goal to buy all bourbons in a particular price point, fill the cart up, swipe credit card and go home. If it’s not at the store, like Old Granddad 114, I don’t buy it. If it’s above or below the range, I don’t buy it. This method allows me to support a local retailer and taste products that are on the shelf. It’s not perfect, but I am having a blast with it.

Now, after $1,000 at checkout, I came home with 32 bourbons. And after the 26-bourbon taste off last week, and sluggish feeling the next day, I decided to break this up into two tastings. Tomorrow, I’ll complete the taste off. Here are the rankings from tasting one.

16: Glass K, Wade Lynn Ranch (Fruity, rotten apple, decay, “Tastes like someone’s trying to barbecue a steak that went bad”)

15: Glass O, Straight Edge (Wood, wood, wood, “Oh my god, no, that’s so gross”)

14: Glass J, Town Branch (Funk, herbs, dirt, “Oh my god, no — that’s not good”)

13: Glass C, Old Bardstown Estate (Grain forward, prominent alcohol)

12: Glass D, Kentucky Vintage (Soft, grain forward, peanut butter, walnut)

11: Glass L, Hirsch (Fermentation room, yeasty, hint of caramel, dehydrated orange, Flintstone vitamin)

10: Glass I, Buffalo Trace (Flat nose, corn chips)

9: Glass H, Johnny Drum (Odd aromas, peanut butter, petrol, Nutella, almond, pecan shell bitterness, “H is mood whiskey”)

8: Glass F, Redemption High Rye (Spice bomb, gum wrapper)

7: Glass A, 1792 (Vanilla, cardamom, nutmeg, banana)

6: Glass N, Bulleit (Peanut butter, spice, molasses, malt, “very nice … has some complexity to it”)

5: Glass G, Four Roses Small Batch (Coffee, hazelnut, saltwater taffy)

4: Glass P, Yellowstone (Earth, spice, touch of sweetness, “P is a contender”)

3: Glass E, Devils River Texas Bourbon, Cask Strength (Pungent, funk, corn, hay, oily, cracked black pepper, “smells like a country song”)

2: Glass M, Charles Goodnight (Apricot, orange, apple, extremely fruity, watermelon Juicy Fruit)

1: Glass B, Knob Creek (Graham cracker, cornbread, popcorn)