According to Edrington’s representative in Östersund, Knob Creek is made from the same mash as Jim Beam White, but it has been matured for 9 years (as opposed to Jim Beam’s four).
Nose: Vanilla, oak planks and slightly tart mango chutney. With water it acquires an unfortunate sour note that reminds me too much of vomit to be pleasant. It’s also got the dry icing sugar note, though.
Palate: Oak, a whiff of perfume and more oak. Icing sugar and oak with water, bitterness from the cask and, uhm, almonds, I think.
Comments: I’m not exactly convinced, and I actually prefer the younger version, if we can call the Jim Beam a version. This has too much cask and not enough of anything else for my palate.
Nose: Vanilla and fresh birch twigs, some peppery herbs. With water the spice turns towards cinnamon and I also get a slightly metallic note and dry icing sugar.
Palate: Oak and vanillin. More spice with a bit of water.
Comments: Quite a good nose, and the taste is ok, though nothing to write home about. There is hardly any of the perfumy character which I normally dislike in bourbons, so this is a bourbon I could actually drink.
Leviathan II, according to Lost Spirits, has a ppm of 110 (measured in the malt, I assume) from American peat and has been matured in ex-Semillion casks, casks that have been used to mature white wine, in other words.
Nose: Newmake (sulfur and malt spirit). Sweet yeallow raisins. Apple pie and custard.
Palate: Smoke, but wrapped in interesting ways. Raisins, peat smoke and dark chocolate with coffee notes, especially on the finish.
Comments: First and foremost: Weird. A somewhat split personality, as if it needs more time, either in the cask (well, the newmake character would suggest that anyway) or in the vat. Did they skip the marrying period? I’d also seriously consider other casks for further maturation, or at least some other casks in the mix. However weird, though, I don’t dislike it. Rather the opposite. Once you get past the newmake on the nose it’s rather nice in its way. Smoked dark chocolate with raisins? Who wouldn’t buy that? The VERY young nose detracts, though. And who knows where the 110 ppm ended up, not in the bottle, that’s for sure. Peat monster it ain’t.
Nose: Dark chocolate, cardamum and oaky perfume. Water brings out citrus, especially orange, some lilacs and lemon curd. Somehow I end up thinking about old fashioned ladies’ soap.
Palate: Wet, warm wood (as in a wet sauna) with a vague rotting note (an old sauna, obviously). With water I get soap, citrus and perfume.
Comments: The nose is quite nice, though perhaps a bit too perfumey. On the palate I can choose between rotting wood without water and soap with water and my answer has to be “I’ll pass”. Not undrinkable, but teetering on the edge.