Knob Creek Smoked Maple
Bourbon — Kentucky, USA
Reviewed November 20, 2020 (edited March 20, 2021)
Ever heard the expression “fine from far, far from fine” [up close]? Have you ever had your eye on a good looking girl, often day-dreaming about possibly hooking up with her (because, good odds). Then finally getting a chance and found the experience so wanting that you not only decide to never date/hang out with blonde, blue-eyed women ever again, but also question your own judgment? Well, ummmm, enter Knob creek maple finish. I cracked open this bottle several months ago and when I nosed it, it held so much promise I couldn’t wait to get my tongue on it (This is Not a Luxury Innuendo, Monsieur Compass Box 😊). Maple syrup, dark brown sugar and charred caramel interwoven in a mist of vanilla ethanol filled the nose. However upon first sip, I was like, what have I done!? Never again! It felt like I was drinking watered-down grade A maple syrup with my bourbon. If you look up the phrase “cloyingly sweet” in the World Dictionary of Phrases, which by the way does NOT actually exist (sorry for the tease @CKarmios @DigitalArc ), you would be greeted by a picture of this here dram. God, it is sweet!!! I’m not going to waste your time breaking down the palate and finish. I’ll just say take concentrated simple syrup + brown liquid...and use your imagination. Because I do believe in second chances (and sometimes 3rd & 4th chances...depending), I went back for another taste this weekend. Being a glass-half-full proponent, I had hoped that good ol oxi-D would work some magic on this over time. Nay I say unto thee, a fools errand it was! Another hope dashed. There’s only so much oxygen can do. I mean, it gives us life. What more do you want? All that said, what I did find was that a tiny, deftly placed dash of this KCSM “bourbon” transformed my home blends into something quite interesting...and dare I say, occasionally extraordinary. It turned some of my run-of-the-mill bourbons into so called honey barrell bourbons. And I swear, a [deft] splash of this with a few ounces of a 12yr cask strength dram from a big name, top-shelf producing Cambletown distiller, whose name shall remain unspoken (mostly for fear of being destroyed & ostracized by this distillery’s fanboys for attempting such sacrilege... @cascode @ScotchingHard @dhsilv2 @Rick_M @Soba45), turned the blend into an approximation of a “decent quality” sherried Islay (think bowmore 15yr). Don’t ask me how it happened. It just did. Thusly IMHO, this is a complete write-off as a neat pour by itself. But in blends, deftly handled, it’s a whole ‘nother story. And so follows the dilemma. Do I score this based on the positive impact it has had on my home blends? Do I score it on its own merits alone? I’ll perversely borrow Pat Riley & LBJ’s “let’s keep the main thing the main thing” and go with the latter. 1🌟 it is. I guess I could go below 1🌟 but gotta draw the line somewhere and give baseline score for effort. Cheers PoD!