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The new release finishes flagship Knob Creek bourbon in “quarter cask” oak barrels for four years. Quarter casks are, as the name suggests, one quarter the size of traditional 52 gallon barrel. This means an increase in the surface area of the charred oak relative to the volume of the whiskey inside. Accelerating the aging process. When the finished product is dumped from the quarter cask. It is blended with Knob Creek and bottled at 100 proof to create Knob Creek Quarter Oak.
At the forefront, rich honey and oak mingle together with vanilla, leather, cinnamon, mixed dried fruit, and brown sugar hiding behind. There’s a surprisingly stronger amount of ethanol than expected for a 100 proof bourbon. Despite this, the nose is layered and nuanced bringing forth a really nice balance of sweet and dry flavors. Subtle, yet full of flavor – sans the stronger presence of ethanol which holds back the nose from being really great – it’s a good introduction and foreshadows what’s to come.
While ethanol plays a prominent part in the nose, its impact on the palate is less so, and this whiskey sips as expected for a 100 proof bourbon. It has a lighter mouthfeel and one that allows you to roll it around in your mouth without impedance by the ethanol. Notes of sweet cinnamon syrup, heavy dry aged oak, sugared figs, dried peaches, and vanilla cream are prominent. Much like the nose, the palate is a nice interplay between sweet and dry flavors.
Knob Creek Quarter Oak shines the most in the finish and really distinguishes itself from regular Knob Creek in this portion of the sip. A pleasant warming heat carries through for the entire finish. The flavors are straightforward, mainly showcasing rich oak, leather, a flash of syrup, and a hint of cinnamon spice. The finish ends on a long, dry oak note topped with baked cinnamon bark,and pepper that lasts and lasts. It’s a great way to cap the sip off.