By Kevin Gray
on 6.2.11

Bourbon itself is a manly drink, but ratchet up the proof to 120 – that’s 60% alcohol – and you’re operating on an entirely different level. Of course, we discerning drinkers care about more than just alcohol content. After all, when’s the last time you kicked back with a glass of Everclear?

Enter Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve, the latest addition to Jim Beam’s small batch bourbon lineup. Unlike original Knob Creek, which blends barrels before bottling to achieve consistency, the Single Barrel is just that – whiskey from a single barrel. Variances in the oak barrels, temperature and other factors over the nine year aging process can cause differences between each barrel of Knob Creek, meaning that your bottle might taste slightly different than ours. That said, ours tastes quite nice.

The bourbon has intense aromas of vanilla and caramel, and considering its potent proof, it hides its alcohol really well. Take a sip and let the mature, toasty oak and sweet vanilla wash over you before a long, spicy finish. Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is a bourbon worth enjoying on its own, but there’s no shame in dropping in some water or a couple ice cubes to cut the heat. Find it locally for about $40.