New Knob Creek release celebrates Booker Noe’s vision of creating full-flavored bourbon

By John Trump

Knob Creek Bourbon is trying something a bit different. It’s not another flavor, i.e., smoked maple, but rather a limited edition Knob Creek Quarter Oak.This special, limited-time release uses a secondary finishing approach to continue the vision founding distiller Booker Noe set for Knob Creek decades ago: to craft bourbon with the fullest flavors characteristic of pre-prohibition style, the distiller says in a news release.

“With its latest release, Knob Creek explores and deepens the influence of oak on its flagship bourbon. Knob Creek Quarter Oak takes the brand’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, crafted in the pre-prohibition style fans expect from Knob Creek, and finishes it for a minimum of four years in quarter cask, American oak barrels to increase the amount of contact between the whiskey and wood,” the release says.

A small amount of this unique, secondarily finished whiskey — which delivers richer notes of oak — is then mingled with Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon to create the final product that boasts a balance of oak influence and traditional, sweeter notes. 

“When Dad created Knob Creek in the early 90s, he wanted to bring back the big, bold flavors that bourbon offered before the days of Prohibition,” said Fred Noe, Booker’s son and Beam family seventh-generation master distiller. “Dad loved to experiment in his quest for flavor, and I like to think we carry on that same spirit today with releases like this. Finishing our full-flavored liquid in quarter casks delivers a really nice, deepened wood flavor to the bourbon our fans enjoy.”

The 100-proof Knob Creek Quarter Oak is the color of dark honey, with the smell of sweet caramel. There’s strong oak on the palate and a nice spice, reminiscent of cousin Booker’s. Dried fruits and spice is prominent, although this bourbon smooths out and finishes with a nice sweetness.

Here’s a cocktail to dry, courtesy of Knob Creek.

 Quarter Oak Collins

2 parts Knob Creek Quarter Oak

  • 1 part simple syrup
  • ¾ part lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 part soda water 

Combine all ingredients except soda water into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 10-15 seconds until well chilled. Separate tins and add a splash of soda water into the cocktail. Top the tin with a strainer and strain slowly into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel and brandied cherries.

Knob Creek Quarter Oak is now available nationwide for about $50.