Knob Creek: Calandro’s 1st Rye Barrel
Let’s focus on Calandro’s Knob Creek Rye pick this week. For full disclosure, Calandro’s has donated a couple of these bottles for our raffles last year. Regardless of that, I’m a huge fan of this bottle and wanted to get the word out about it. They got it in September 2018 and surprisingly enough, they still have a few cases left! I have given this bottle to at least four whiskey-obsessed friends who all love it! I don’t keep my empty bottles so I don’t know exactly how many I’ve enjoyed over the last 8 months or so, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was five or more…probably need to have a more serious discussion on my drinking habits but I digress.
Here’s some background information on rye whiskey: It’s different from bourbon in that its main ingredient is rye as opposed to corn in bourbon. To be considered rye whiskey, it must have a mashbill of at least 51% rye and aged in new oak barrels. If it has been aged for at least two years and not blended with any other spirits, then it can be considered Straight Rye Whiskey.
This bottle is Knob Creek Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. From that designation we can infer that it has a mashbill of at least 51% rye, is a single barrel, has been aged at least two years, and was distilled in Kentucky. Calandro’s includes a tag with each bottle that states the whiskey was barreled on 11/5/12 and selected on 5/9/18, so it’s roughly 5.5 years old. The bottle retails for $40.
The nose on this is delightful. Some would think given its high proof you’d get a lot of alcohol on the nose, but I didn’t get any! I got a hint of orange with both caramel and butterscotch notes. For a rye, the nose is quite sweet. The taste is sublime as well. There is a ton of spice on the tongue. That’s obvious for a rye whiskey, but the spice on this bottle just works. It blends perfectly with notes of cinnamon, vanilla, and oak to make a truly fantastic rye whiskey. The finish is probably the weakest part of this whiskey but that doesn’t mean much here. It’s a medium finish, very warm and just the right amount of sweetness. I tend to think that the better ryes out there have a longer finish which is why this one isn’t disappointing, but it could be longer.
Well if you cannot tell by now, I think this bottle is a delicious pick. I also used this bottle for a couple of old-fashion cocktails, and they were damn tasty. (I was informed by some that I’m quite generous with my ratings so I’m going to try and be as objective as possible here.) I would put this as a 4 out of 5 pours. Is it in the realm of the best Rye Whiskeys I’ve ever had? No, not quite…but its closer than you’d think. For a bottle that only costs $40, it’s a no-brainer; this is definitely a keeper. Go to Calandro’s on Perkins (I haven’t personally seen any at the Mid-City location) and buy this whiskey! (I recently saw three cases on the floor but I’m not sure how much they have.)
Good luck and happy bourbon hunting!