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Nick Danger
04-02-2013, 17:31
I recently brought up this topic in the chat room, and I'd like to get more opinions.

Woodford Reserve and Knob Creek are fairly common bourbons (at least here in Chicago) but do not appear to have a lot of fans here.

Why is that so? I'm curious to hear from experienced bourbon drinkers. What is it about these brands that make them less interesting? Lack of complexity? Odd flavor notes? Too much hype? Something else?

Full disclosure: I'm a bourbon newbie and I haven't tried either one yet. Frankly, there are a lot of other bourbons that are well-regarded here which are higher up on my to-taste list.

I will say that the two sales guys I trust at my neighborhood Binny's have steered me away from both WR and KC. Given that they introduced me to ETL and FRSB, they seem to have pretty good taste.

Thanks for your guidance, bourbon gurus.

Nick

black mamba
04-02-2013, 17:36
I don't have either one in my cabinet. WR is good enough, but it's too expensive, and I just don't care for KC.

Alden
04-02-2013, 17:40
Nothing wrong with either, except that they are just a wee bit over hyped and over priced.

I'm a big fan of Woodford Reserve. I just wish it was about $10 cheaper.

Knob Creek has just a little too much oak in it for me.

TheNovaMan
04-02-2013, 17:42
I like KC alright. It's nice when you want a bourbon on the sweeter side. It's a bummer it's $36, though. I haven't tried WR in a critical manner, so I can't comment on that one.

Clavius
04-02-2013, 17:46
Knob Creek is great, imho. Woodford Reserve? Not so much...

MyOldKyDram
04-02-2013, 17:53
Yeah, I actually like the Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve quite a bit. It's syrupy goodness. Sure I wish it were a tad cheaper, but I could say that about most bourons in this price range.

Woodford is fine even if it's nothing I ever reach for, but could really use a lil extra ABV for my taste. I'll drink it at a bar happily if it's all they have.

Yeti
04-02-2013, 17:59
At this point I don't keep either of these on hand. Never cared much for WR. It's a perfectly fine drink, but not my style. I've always liked KC, and drink it at my father-in-law's house, or in some bars, but I purchase other bourbons for the house.

omgmarclol
04-02-2013, 18:01
i'm off and on with KC. i've had good experiences with bottles but then i'll get a bottle or a pour from a bottle that has too much bitter barrel char which is very off putting to me.

Parkersback
04-02-2013, 18:17
Nothing wrong with either, except that they are just a wee bit over hyped and over priced.

I'm a big fan of Woodford Reserve. I just wish it was about $10 cheaper.

Knob Creek has just a little too much oak in it for me.

Agreed. I'd probably buy WR more at a lower price. But it's pretty good. I really like the Double Oaked.

KC is good, but I like Baker's better. I always wonder if something like Baker's would get more love if it was not Beam.

soad
04-02-2013, 18:40
If KC were the price of VOB, it would get a lot more love.

WAINWRIGHT
04-02-2013, 18:50
Can't really add a whole lot to what's already been said and it basically boils down to price on both versus what's in the bottle.I enjoy KC and KCSB but there are others out there like OGD114 that I enjoy almost as much and at half the price and are consistently good,unlike the KCSB which was mentioned earlier in the thread.I have never had much love for WR and would take OF Signature over it any day of the week,once again at almost half the price of its co-part.

camduncan
04-02-2013, 18:56
I like em both, but can only get Woodford Reserve here in Australia, hence why I always grab a bottle of Knob Creek if I can when travelling.

T Comp
04-02-2013, 19:13
I think there are some factors beyond just the taste of KC and WR. First there is a culture to the forum that survives even with constant newcomers. Some of that culture was developed long ago from members who were employees of distilleries and had a solid presence here. Heaven Hill and Buffalo Trace probably take the lead on that. Hard not to have a fondness for HH when one of them is the Bourbonian of the year or the likes of Ken Weber, Julian Van Winkle and Truman Cox putting up posts. Then there is the reality of the distilleries that seem to go out of there way for us enthusiasts here versus just the paying customer. Barrel buys, special tours or even just a recognition of SB's existence. Beam and Brown Forman could probably fight for last place on this too. I've only been around since 2008, of course I lurked for about 2 years before :lol:, but former Bourbonians of the Year and the Boss himself probably set tones that continue to be heard today also.

Me...I usually have a bottle of both open along with the other 50 :grin:.

Danger
04-02-2013, 20:59
WR is just fine. So is KC. Nice to have around.

Knob Creek Rye is fantastic, imo, if you're willing to pay for it. Maybe that's apples to oranges, though.

Grain Belt
04-02-2013, 21:28
Both are fine bourbons that get good consideration around here. Unfortunately my tongue is tied to my wallet and I tend to buy more Kirkland 103 proof 7 year old and Beam Black instead of KC. When I sip with my dad I break out the Old Forester 100 proofer.

TheOakMonster
04-02-2013, 22:04
Woodford Reserve smells and tastes like nail polish remover to me. Cannot even begin to choke the stuff down. But nonetheless, our store sells plenty of the stuff, so obviously other people feel differently about the profile (or maybe they enjoy drinking nail polish remover). I recently retasted Woodford after a year or so and my appraisal remains the same. At this point, Woodford is pretty much the last bourbon I'd ever buy--your results may vary.

VAGentleman
04-03-2013, 05:22
As you said your results may vary. I love Woodford and always have a bottle around. I like the Double Oak even better. A little pricey but love the oakiness of it

BFerguson
04-03-2013, 05:53
Like most everybody else they are good, well, KC more than WR in my taste.

I use to drink KC frequently, but that was more back when selection was limited. It was just a good go to product at the time. Now, it seems to be more of the go to for me if I'm going to be out eating. In a world where there are few great bourbon selections at the bar, KC is a pretty safe bet when ordering.

I'll add that you are very fortunate to live close to Binny's, where you have a selection that rivals most any store. Have fun trying your way through the selection, including these. You have to try it for yourself to know whether you like it or not.

B
Dreaming of my next Binny's trip..........

Flyfish
04-03-2013, 06:43
Yeah, I actually like the Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve quite a bit. It's syrupy goodness. Sure I wish it were a tad cheaper, but I could say that about most bourons in this price range.

Woodford is fine even if it's nothing I ever reach for, but could really use a lil extra ABV for my taste. I'll drink it at a bar happily if it's all they have.
I paid $35.99 for the KCSB at Liquor Barn and like the more intense KC flavor for sipping. At that price, it think it represent good value. WR, however, has always seemed rather too neutral as if it's purpose was not to offend its target audience--here's where I get snooty and/or snotty--the people who drink bourbon once a year in the ritual julep before singing "My Old KY Home."

squire
04-03-2013, 06:53
I like them both but don't have a slot for either. As long as I can get Forester Signature I don't need Woodford and Beam Black works fine as a representative of that brand. Frankly, both are overpriced for what they are which fact alone is sufficient to ignore them.

Brisko
04-03-2013, 08:11
I'm not a huge fan of Woodford. Like many here, I prefer Old Forester Signature. Knob is my go-to bar pour when selection is tight. Knob Creek Single Barrel, on the other hand, is almost always open in my house. I can usually find it for around $30 if I search, and I think it's a very good bourbon at any price.

qman22
04-03-2013, 08:27
I'm not a huge fan of Woodford, and I really don't drink much from B-F all together. I do enjoy KC and KCSB, but I usually look elsewhere due to price. If KC was $22-$26 I would keep a bottle on hand, here in PA it is $34.99. At that price, no thanks... If the Single Barrel version was cheaper here, say in the mid $30's I would buy more often as well. PA pricing is $41-$45, at that price, no thanks...

Anyone try any really good private barrels of KCSB? I have came across a couple decently priced ones and have thought about ordering, but haven't pulled the trigger yet.

bigtoys
04-03-2013, 09:04
I like both KC & WR. even the WR double oaked. and some of the WR master's collection editions, too. Don't hesitate to order them out, esp
KC.

weller_tex
04-03-2013, 09:33
Standard KC is OK, but to me KCSB is fantastic stuff. WR is too expensive for what you get, IMO.

sob0728
04-03-2013, 11:07
You can usually get Woodford on sale somewhere in the Twin Cities for about $25. For that price, I think it is very nice and I have also found that people who are new to bourbon or not really bourbon drinkers at all enjoy it very much. It would make a great gift to someone you are trying to get into bourbon because it is pretty good and has a very nice looking bottle.

Hawg73
04-03-2013, 11:55
Both are okay. The price is the bigger issue with me. I can find same or better for less.

RocknRoll
04-03-2013, 12:27
Woodford Reserve smells and tastes like nail polish remover to me. Cannot even begin to choke the stuff down. But nonetheless, our store sells plenty of the stuff, so obviously other people feel differently about the profile (or maybe they enjoy drinking nail polish remover). I recently retasted Woodford after a year or so and my appraisal remains the same. At this point, Woodford is pretty much the last bourbon I'd ever buy--your results may vary.
I haven't tried any KC yet. Whenever I start to reach for a bottle at the store I get the feeling I'm about to pay extra for JB Black. The one bottle of WR I tried had that "tinny/metallic" taste. Could not finish the bottle. May try again some day, probably in a bar first before I risk my dollars on another bottle though. Same with the KC I think.

RT Fan
04-03-2013, 12:50
KC & WR are the 2 bourbons I have probably bought and drunk the most of so far. Both are fine & well made, but I would agree could be priced more aggressively. Plenty of stiff competition at or below their price points, i.e. ETL, ER, OWA... options abound.

stiffchainey
04-03-2013, 13:34
I like Knob Creek. WR is not my type. Both are too expensive, though, with 35€ a bottle. WR is starting to become more and more popular here, dunno why exactly. Knob Creek, you have to order from the net.

darylld911
04-03-2013, 18:09
WR is too "neat" or "clean" or "smooth" for my liking, not that it is bad whiskey. I think I have a 50 mL of both WR and KC, although I find KC to be a reliable order in some of the local watering holes (where the bourbon offering is limited to JB, MM, WT, and KC).

kickert
04-04-2013, 01:25
In my experience, Woodford and Blantons (over Knob Creek) are the bourbons that people reach for when they want to appear they like good bourbon, but really don't know much about it. Part of it is price point... they are both very easy to get, but are notably more expensive (to differing degrees) than the "stock" stuff so you can always think you drinking better because you are paying more. The other reason is because both are middle of the road pours. For the most part, they are flat and bland -- not particularly interesting, but also, not a whole lot that is objectionable in them.

If you are looking to mass produce a whiskey, it is more important to limit the potential turn offs even if that means limiting what makes things unique, interesting, and memorable.

Alden
04-04-2013, 05:15
In my experience, Woodford and Blantons (over Knob Creek) are the bourbons that people reach for when they want to appear they like good bourbon, but really don't know much about it. Part of it is price point... they are both very easy to get, but are notably more expensive (to differing degrees) than the "stock" stuff so you can always think you drinking better because you are paying more. The other reason is because both are middle of the road pours. For the most part, they are flat and bland -- not particularly interesting, but also, not a whole lot that is objectionable in them.

If you are looking to mass produce a whiskey, it is more important to limit the potential turn offs even if that means limiting what makes things unique, interesting, and memorable.

Exactly right. And this is why they are so popular. There are virtually no over riding strong flavors. They are well balanced and smooth.

This is why Canadian whiskies are so popular, even still.

VAGentleman
04-04-2013, 06:10
In my experience, Woodford and Blantons (over Knob Creek) are the bourbons that people reach for when they want to appear they like good bourbon, but really don't know much about it. Part of it is price point... they are both very easy to get, but are notably more expensive (to differing degrees) than the "stock" stuff so you can always think you drinking better because you are paying more. The other reason is because both are middle of the road pours. For the most part, they are flat and bland -- not particularly interesting, but also, not a whole lot that is objectionable in them.

If you are looking to mass produce a whiskey, it is more important to limit the potential turn offs even if that means limiting what makes things unique, interesting, and memorable.

Wow, pretty condescending to people that actually like Woodford and Blantons

smokinjoe
04-04-2013, 06:29
Woodford a "middle of the road" and "no over-riding strong flavors" pour? I couldn't disagree more. There are pages, upon pages, upon pages, heck volumes written here over the years on SB about folks' dislike of WR because of the exact opposite attributes of this whiskey. The whole "tastes like I'm sucking on a mouthful of pennies" etc., description has been repeated many times. I liken it more to cantaloupe rind myself, but...;) IMO, WR is one of the most distinctive tasting bourbons on the market. The pot distilled element gives it a definite "house style", albeit, one that is very polarizing, and turns many people off. For me, I always have it around, if for no other reason than that "distinctiveness".

Josh
04-04-2013, 07:36
I gotta go with Ben on this re: Woodford. I'll go so far as to say that may have been changing the profile to make it more bland and less distictive recently. The last bottle I got was really dull. Much duller than I remembered.

White Dog
04-04-2013, 08:17
I agree with many others here. I think the Pot Still part of the equation really screws up the perfectly okay DSP-354 distillate, and makes it taste "tinny" and thin. It's hard for me to choke it down. When faced with both on a back bar, I tend to go for KC, even though I HATE the Beam flavor profile.

I also think Ben makes a great point. This brands are intended to cast as wide a net as possible, so they need to have middle-of-the-road flavor profiles.

(And the OP asked for opinions, and that what he should get. We all have our own tastes, and these subjective opinions are not intended to offend those who like WR or KC.)

PaulO
04-04-2013, 15:40
...

I will say that the two sales guys I trust at my neighborhood Binny's have steered me away from both WR and KC. Given that they introduced me to ETL and FRSB, they seem to have pretty good taste.
...


Nick
I would agree with the people that suggested the ETL and FRSB. You could always buy an mini bottle, or try KC or Woodford in a bar to try it. Woodford is made from a combination of Old Forester and pot still whiskey. I think Old Forester 100 is great. The bottles of Woodford I've tried have varied. I have noticed the odd metallic taste sometimes. I can handle KC, but I have to put out of my mind the thought that it's a version of JB while I'm drinking it. :)

j1mmyj4m
04-04-2013, 15:56
It seems like my mood plays a huge part as to whether I really like them or not. I have both open, but I would rather reach for KCSB which I always stock up on and feel I can enjoy at any moment.

wripvanwrinkle
04-04-2013, 16:35
I very much like Knob Creek. I think that she is unpopular because she is (at least) $10 more than her 1 year younger cousin Black. I think that Black gets no love because her sister is J.B. White.

Nick Danger
04-04-2013, 20:07
(And the OP asked for opinions, and that what he should get. We all have our own tastes, and these subjective opinions are not intended to offend those who like WR or KC.)

I did ask for opinions, and I very much appreciate all the people that have participated in this thread. I've learned a whole lot.


Woodford is made from a combination of Old Forester and pot still whiskey. I think Old Forester 100 is great. The bottles of Woodford I've tried have varied. I have noticed the odd metallic taste sometimes.

One of the things I've learned is the above point about what goes into Woodford. I've also just added OF 100 to my to-taste list.

Given my limited budget the the moment, I'll probably try a taste of WR and KC at a bar before getting small bottles of either. A small bottle of WR is $22 here, and that's a bit more than I care to spend on something I may or may not like.

Nick

black mamba
04-05-2013, 00:08
Nick, I've got an OF Signature 100 open right now . . . .
if you ever get down to St. Louis, give me a shout and we'll drink some together.

JPBoston
04-05-2013, 02:53
KC is one of my favorite pours, period. I like that it's well balanced, and to me... is the perfect representative of a great bourbon flavor. No extra-curricular flavors. Also, weird note -- to me, it tastes the fancy version of EWB (as opposed to Beam Black, which I can't stand).

Big fan of KCSB as well, but for the price, the regular style is fine by me.

WR --- not so much. Dry, tinny, and just not good.

Flyfish
04-05-2013, 07:21
I
Given my limited budget the the moment, I'll probably try a taste of WR and KC at a bar before getting small bottles of either. A small bottle of WR is $22 here, and that's a bit more than I care to spend on something I may or may not like.
Nick

If I were on a limited budget (again), I would wait until I could spring for a bottle. For the price of two drinks at a bar, you are probably more than half way there. More importantly, I would try to withhold judgment until I had sampled at least half a bottle. First impressions are not always reliable in my experience. Often something happens to either the bourbon after it has been opened or something happens to my palate between the first glass and the fifth or sixth glass. At that point, if I really don't like it, there is probably someone I know who will like it.

kickert
04-05-2013, 08:43
Wow, pretty condescending to people that actually like Woodford and Blantons

Really?!?! I didn't say there was anything wrong with them, or that people who drink them are unsophisticated. I just said the people I know who are willing to spend some extra money on booze, but aren't familiar with flavor profile, mashbills, or which distillery makes what, tend to gravitate to them. It's like people who go to PF Changs. They know it is better than Beijing Express, and worth the extra money, but are probably not Chinese food aficionados.

I see the same things with bars. If they have more than Jim and Jack, they are probably going to have Woodford, and if they want a higher end pour, it will probably be Blanton's. It is an issue of familiarity and safety.

As for Woodford being distinct. I agree with Josh on this. Early WR did have the penny flavor, but in my opinion it has largely faded and the flavors as a whole (highs and lows) have been brought down.

Alden
04-05-2013, 13:58
I did ask for opinions, and I very much appreciate all the people that have participated in this thread. I've learned a whole lot.



One of the things I've learned is the above point about what goes into Woodford. I've also just added OF 100 to my to-taste list.

Given my limited budget the the moment, I'll probably try a taste of WR and KC at a bar before getting small bottles of either. A small bottle of WR is $22 here, and that's a bit more than I care to spend on something I may or may not like.

Nick

By a small bottle what size are you referring to? A 750 ml here is in the range of $30-36.00.

Not me, that is NOT a cheap whiskey.

Nick Danger
04-05-2013, 15:22
If I were on a limited budget (again), I would wait until I could spring for a bottle. For the price of two drinks at a bar, you are probably more than half way there. More importantly, I would try to withhold judgment until I had sampled at least half a bottle. First impressions are not always reliable in my experience. Often something happens to either the bourbon after it has been opened or something happens to my palate between the first glass and the fifth or sixth glass. At that point, if I really don't like it, there is probably someone I know who will like it.

Good point about needing more than just one or two samples to form an opinion. Regarding the bar tab, I've got a friend who owes me a night at a bourbon bar so he'd be picking up the check. Otherwise, you're right that I could easily end up halfway to the cost of buying a bottle.


By a small bottle what size are you referring to? A 750 ml here is in the range of $30-36.00.


A 375ml of WR is $22 and a 750 is $38 here. For $39, I can buy a 750 of FRSB which I already know I'll love. Or I can get a 750 of ETL for $30 and still be very happy. Until my budget improves a bit, I'll probably stick to buying only bourbons that I'm sure about.

Nick

Phil T
04-05-2013, 15:36
I like WR, but at its price point, there are many, less pricey expressions, that I like better. If it were priced closer to $20 for a 750ml, it would probably be a regular pour.

HighInTheMtns
04-05-2013, 15:46
I like WR, but at its price point, there are many, less pricey expressions, that I like better. If it were priced closer to $20 for a 750ml, it would probably be a regular pour.
Try Old Forester Signature. Close to $20 and more proof.

Alden
04-05-2013, 16:07
The more I sample it, the more I like what may be the most common, most mass produced bourbon on Planet Earth.

Wild Turkey 101.

HighInTheMtns
04-05-2013, 16:09
The more I sample it, the more I like what may be the most common, most mass produced bourbon on Planet Earth.

Wild Turkey 101.
Nah, Beam and Evan have it on both of those counts.

But count me as a WT101 fan.