Whiskey Review: Knob Creek Rye

Knob Creek Rye Whiskey Review

If you are looking for an inexpensive rye whiskey, you may notice Knob Creek on the shelf at your local liquor store. It’d be hard to miss it; the label with the bold typeface is undeniably a standout. The cost isn’t high at all, ranging anywhere from $20-$40 or so.

What’s the story with this one? It’s made in small batches and aged in charred barrels. Knob Creek is at least 51% rye (in case you aren’t in the know, that is the principle difference between a rye whisky and a bourbon; a bourbon must be at least 51% corn).

That said, I’m not sure what the exact ratios are in Knob Creek Rye Whiskey, but it seemed to me I still detected a fair bit of corn. So while this falls into the category of rye whiskey, it seems to me that it would appeal to most bourbon drinkers.

You may already be familiar with Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon, which also contains some rye—but corn of course is the predominant ingredient. The presence of the rye always gives it a unique edge, so I looked forward to seeing this rye-based counterpart.

Knob Creek Bourbon comes with a cork stopper, but Knob Creek Rye comes with a screw cap. I prefer the cork, but no big deal. The packaging is otherwise easy to appreciate. Like I said, that eye-catching label features some great design work.

In the bottle, the whiskey I bought was a light golden color that was close to amber. I’ve noticed that there is some variation from bottle to bottle with this whisky. It can range anywhere from the light color I got to a medium-dark amber color.

After you get the cap off, you pick up strong notes of oak, caramel, and spices. In the backdrop there are also some subtle herbs that I can’t identify, but I think I pick up something which is giving the aroma a slightly astringent edge. It could be mint or ginger.

On the palate, oak is the strongest note, accompanied by caramel and vanilla. Just as I expected, spices are present, though not nearly as strong as I thought they might be. I am also certain now that the note I was picking up before is ginger. This gives it a bite, as does the strong alcohol content (100 proof). The finish is long and smooth and peppery with a hint of some kind of fruit that I can’t quite identify. Like I mentioned, to me this tastes similar to a bourbon, and actually pretty close to the Knob Creek Bourbon, but obviously the rye flavors are more pronounced.

While this is not the most innovative or amazing rye whiskey I have tried, it was plenty enjoyable, especially at the very reasonable price point. If you enjoy bourbons and want to try a rye whiskey which tastes similar, give it a try, especially if you find it for sale at the lower end of the price bracket.

Knob Creek Rye : Review Summary

Color: Medium golden amber.

Nose: Oak, caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg, mint, ginger, herbs.

Palate: Oak, vanilla, spice, caramel, ginger, white pepper, fruit.

“Cigars for a Year” Contest at CigarPlace.biz

Cigars for a Year

Our friends at CigarPlace.biz just launched a nice contest, with $2,500 in prizes (all in gift certificates to spend at their site). To enter, head over to this page - there are multiple ways to get entries (e-mail subscription, social media options, etc.). Good luck!

Ashton Symmetry Robusto

Ashton Symmetry Robusto

Origin : Dominican RepublicAshton
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Ecuador Habano
Filler : Dominican & Nicaraguan
Binder : Dominican
Hand-Made
Price : ~$11 each
More info about purchasing Ashton Symmetry cigars...

This highly anticipated cigar is the result of collaboration between Arturo Fuente and Ashton. There were hitches in the development process which led to delays, including fires in the Arturo Fuente factory. This didn’t stop this dynamic duo from coming out with a popular and highly rated cigar—the first since 2006 to bear the Ashton name.

The Ashton Symmetry is available in five different sizes: Belicoso, Prestige (Churchill), Prism (Corona), Robusto and Sublime (Toro). For this review, I smoked the 5” x 50 Robusto.

Read the full review of Ashton Symmetry Robusto...

Partagas Añejado Corona Gorda

Partagas Corona Gorda Añejados

Origin : CubaPartagas
Format : Corona Gorda
Size : 143 x 20 mm (5.625 x 46)
Released in : 2015
Box Date : OBE – June ’07
Hand-Made
Price : I paid $450 for an early box and subsequently seen them priced as low as $340 (under $14/cigar)
More info about purchasing Partagas cigars...

This is the 4th in the new Añejados line. As Inspector noted in his review of the HdM Añejados, the Añejados program have all been aged for five to eight years in their original packaging. At that point the packaging is opened and the cigars are checked for quality. Then the original band is placed back on the stogies and a second Añejados band is attached to each. The boxes are stamped with the word “revisado,” which means “checked.” Each Añejados offering is a unique vitola for the particular brand; so, this is the only Partagas currently offered in a coronas gordas vitola.

The Habanos, S.A. press release noted, “Through the aging process, the cigar has developed, becoming rounder and mellower to the palate with touches of delicate and sweetish taste and, above all, obtaining shades of woody taste because of being placed for all those years near the cedar from which the boxes were made.” I’m not sure what boxes the copywriter was looking at, because the Partagas Corona Gorda Añejados comes in a cardboard dress box.

Read the full review of Partagas Añejado Corona Gorda...

Hoyo de Monterrey Añejado Hermosos No. 4

Hoyo de Monterrey Añejado Hermosos No. 4

Origin : CubaHoyo de Monterrey
Format : Corona Extra
Size : 127 x 20 mm (5 x 48)
Released in : 2015 (available in stores since the beginning of 2016)
Hand-Made
Price : ~$14+ each
More info about purchasing Hoyo de Monterrey cigars...

The Hoyo de Monterrey Añejado Hermosos No. 4 is a new line of Cuban cigars released under the Añejados program run by Habanos S.A.

What is the Añejados program? Cigars in this program have all been aged for five to eight years in their original packaging. At that point the packaging is opened and the cigars are checked for quality. Then the original band is placed back on the stogies and a second Añejados band is attached to each. The boxes are stamped with the word “revisado,” which means “checked.”

As you probably have noticed, the Añejados cigars are quite expensive. Each Hoyo de Monterrey Añejado Hermosos No. 4 will cost you at least $14. I picked mine on my recent trip to Amsterdam, in PGC Hajenius. Are these cigars worth the extra cost, or is this just a gimmick to sell excess stock (or even repackaged unsold regional editions)? Let's try to find out.

Read the full review of Hoyo de Monterrey Añejado Hermosos No. 4...

Macanudo Maduro Vintage Cabinet Selection 1997

Macanudo Maduro Vintage Cabinet Selection 1997

MacanudoOrigin : Dominican Republic
Wrapper : Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler : Nicaragua, Dom. Rep., Brazil
Binder : Honduras
Hand-Made
Price : $65 for a box of 12
More info about purchasing Macanudo Vintage Maduro cigars...

Recently I purchased an aged variety of cigar readily available in the US market to see if there other cigars out there that the average US aficionado could enjoy at reasonable prices. Macanudo has always been a popular smoke, and I went on Cigar.com’s website to make my choice. I give a tip of the cap to Sean O. and Andy D. at Cigar.com for their assistance in processing my order. Customer service was impeccable and these guys were immensely helpful in processing my requests. I purchased all three vitolas available — Perfecto, Toro and Robusto, and since they all were basically the same cigar, my comments are directed at all three configurations.

Read the full review of Macanudo Maduro Vintage Cabinet Selection 1997...

FDA Subjects Premium Cigars to Regulation

FDA Regulates Premium Cigars

You might already have heard the sad news. From Cigar Rights of America press-release, earlier today:

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's ("FDA") Center for Tobacco Products released their 499 page final rule that would deem additional tobacco products subject to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Under today's release, premium cigars have been deemed and will be subjected to the "option 1" regulatory framework, which in some respects treats premium cigars in harsher terms than that of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

What does it mean? The main takeaway is that all cigars released after Aug 6 2016 will have to be submitted for approval before they are allowed to the market. Costs and delays of this approval procedure remain unknown.

Charlie Minato from Halfwheel published a great article covering the consequences of this decision in more details. Let's not forget that this is not necessarily the end for the cigar industry, as we can still fight and adapt.

Balmoral Royal Maduro Panatela (Quick Smoke Series)

Balmoral Royal Maduro Panatela

Balmoral CigarsOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Panatela
Size : 139mm (5 1/2 inches) x 37 (14.68mm)
Wrapper : Brazilian Arapiraca
Filler : Brazilian & Dominican
Binder : Dominican Olor
Hand-Made
Price : ~$6.5 EUR / 7.5 USD

Today we are publishing a guest quick smoke review from our long-time reader, Beneluxor! Enjoy.

Dutch company Balmoral dates back to the 1890s, and is distinctive in Europe for having both very popular ranges of short-filler machine-made slightly upscale cigars - like their 'Sumatra' line using Indonesian Java - Sumatra, Brazilian & Havana Remedios tobaccos - but also 5 lines of hand-rolled premium cigars, including this Royal Selection Maduro, which has quite won me over as a great favourite, one of the most satisfying maduro cigars out there.

A long-filler cigar hand-rolled in the Dominican Republic (Balmoral is part of Agio now), the wrapper is sweet dark Arapiraca from Brazil, the binder Dominican Olor, and the filler from both Brazil & the Dominican Republic.

The Balmoral Royal Maduro Panatela here is a unique elegant vitola, 37 ring rauge (14.68mm), and 139mm (5 1/2 inches) long. A great virtue of slender cigars is that the flavour impact of the wrapper can be heightened dramatically, as happens in smoking these lovely sticks.

It's an exciting cigar, rewarding with wonderful explosions of flavours suggesting dark chocolate & espresso, rich but not over-strong, and tends to be very tasty well into the final third. It draws easily and makes nice ash. The amount of flavour burst can vary during the smoke and cigar-to-cigar, but generally stays in the upper end of flavour richness for maduros. The Balmoral Royal is for me, the top maduro value.

A singularly stylish & good-looking cigar too with the wrapper, the well-balanced sizing & the striking green cigar band, it's not too pricey (around € 6,50 in my neighbourhood). With tobacco from their former Indonesian realms, the Dutch became great masters of the cigar business, and with this stick it's clear that they still organise the making of great cigars today.

Thumbs Up!

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