View Full Version : KC at 12: good idea?

06-15-2008, 08:02
I have been struck by the fact that Beam Brands has stayed for many years with its small batch range, of which KC is the oldest at 9 years.

I have often wondered if KC would be improved by another 3 years or so in the barrel.

I think it would be because the Beam bourbons seem in general to age relatively slowly. After all, Beam Black and KC are not notably barrely bourbons. Another 3 years for KC, or Booker's or Baker, might bring them into perfect pitch. Even if you consider them perfect now, availability at a higher age would offer an alternative that would appeal to many.

A 100 proof Old Overholt at 7-8 years might be a very interesting drink. I think the vegetal-like notes in most Beam whiskeys (KC apart) might undergo partial modification. You might get some estery qualities developing, notes of aged flowers and so forth.

I guess Beam is selling all it can now, and that's fine of course for their presumed business model, but generally all producers produce a specialty item or two as a filip for the product line, and to maintain consumer interest (as we see being done with Four Roses for example). The small batch line was innovative when first released and for years afterwards, but I think it would be interesting, today, to sample Knob Creek, say, at 12 years old.

Any thoughts yea, nay or other?


06-15-2008, 09:21
Yes of course I'd like to try KC at a few years older.
Now that you mention it, KC does seem younger than 9 years old.
Why do you think Beam whiskey's age slower?

Also I'd like to try KC at a higher proof.
It seems to me Beam whiskey's are better at a higher proof, like Baker's and Booker's.

06-15-2008, 11:01
Sorry Gary, I don't believe that I would get a chance to own any, because the price would be way above the normal $25 range. I would guess that it would hit the $40 mark without too much trouble.

I would like to see Beam put out a Bib version of all their labels. Priced slightly above the standard bottling price. Maybe not on the small batch line, but on all their cats and dogs.

Actually, I would like to use the "Green" excuse to outlaw the 80 proof mark and raise it to 90. The excuse would be that they would not have to ship extra water across the US, which would lower fuel costs.

Back to your point....I was trying to suggest bourbons to friends who were going out to bars. The problem is most bars carry KC and they wanted to know an alternative. I couldn't really come up with anything that compares with 9yr Bib. My first thought was Turkey....but it is slightly younger. Which would you suggest without jumping up to the Super Premium/ Cognac catagory?

06-15-2008, 15:20
Jeff, in terms of commonly carried items, I think Weller 12 where still available (one of the ones affected by the shortage I think but hopefully back in full flight before long) is a good alternative. This should work in Texas where I understand Weller is a stand-by in the bars.

Apart from that, Jack Daniels Single Barrel, which I should think in most cases would not be sold for higher than KC. Many of the more upscale bars just carry JD Single Barrel now (i.e., not that and regular JD).

Apart from those two, Makers Mark, which remains an excellent whiskey.

On why the Beam whiskeys seem relatively young at their stated age, I am not sure of the reason. I thought it might be that the warehouses used are very large and insulated but I'm told they use smaller, traditional metal clads too.

I suspect the reason may be, the whiskeys have a good sale and go out at the precise age stated on the label. Other brands might add some older whiskey in there or simply lowball the age statement to ensure overall an excellent product.


06-15-2008, 15:26
I had a tuff time finding a consistent alternative that could be found everywhere. Weller is big here but it is not often that you can find alot more than the regular Weller in a bar. Every liquor store has plenty of all the Weller line on the shelves.

Blantons has been what I have suggested...to most. For the people who are a little more interested....I suggested a 50/50 mix of Wild Turkey and Weller 90. Both can be found almost everywhere in town and are usually in the middle of the price list. Thanks for the suggestions.

06-15-2008, 15:29
I agree with your comments Jeff. Blanton is good whiskey. And smart vatting can make a superb whiskey. I am not a big fan of WT 101, but vatting it may make a lot of sense. Maker's added to WT 101 may be excellent, too. It would cut the rather woody taste of WT and its own relative mildness would turn into something more complex.


06-15-2008, 16:45
Most of these Beam suggestions were actually implemented in the 60's and 70's -- I'm a big fan of an 8yo Bonded Beam from 1968 in an "I Dream of Jeannie"-style decanter (fun trivia: the opposite is actually true -- Jeannie's bottle is actually a Jim Beam bourbon decanter painted by the prop department!) and many of the decanters of that era house Beam product aged longer than 9 years (I've heard of a 180-months-old decanter -- 15 year old whiskey!)

06-15-2008, 16:52
...(I've heard of a 180-months-old decanter -- 15 year old whiskey!)

I've had it, shared it -- really good whiskey, hardly recognizable as either Beam, or 80-proof, today. Which is the problem I have envisioning a 12yo Knob Creek. Frankly, if Beam's going to age one awhile, I'd rather it be the Old Grand-Dad mashbill...

06-15-2008, 17:02
I find similarities though in all the Beam-produced whiskeys.

True, 8-15 year old bourbons appeared in those decanters, but overall the profile of Beam was different then (the anise/vegetal note did not seem to characterise the brand then).

Aging out that note fully might produce whiskey of greater complexity and interest than anything in those decanters.


06-15-2008, 17:12
Frankly, if Beam's going to age one awhile, I'd rather it be the Old Grand-Dad mashbill...

Ooohhh... Bonded Basil Hayden! That I would pay for!

I agree with both Tim and Gary that today's Beam products are quite a bit different than what they were cooking back then.

06-24-2008, 15:03
Kevin, you come down to Dallas and I'll pour you some OGD BIB barreled in 1980 and bottled in 1988. Not exactly bonded Basil, but close as you're gonna get.

As for 12-yo KC, I'm not sure. I have been drinking very little bourbon lately - my wife's pregnant and I've laid off drinking when she's home - and I poured two fingers of KC the other night and was reminded why I fell in love with bourobn to begin with. It was close to perfect: crimson-highlighted, lovely wood and candied orange peel in the nose and a full and rounded mouthfeel. The vanilla and cocoa notes were shot through with hints of tea, pecan pie and cinnamon; the drying, spicy finish endured, and the sum of the parts was pure bourbon heaven. I don't imagine it could get much better.

But who am I to say they shouldn't try...:grin:

06-29-2008, 12:15

I'm in the minority here when it comes to KC. It's just now my cup o' tea.
As for leaving it in the barrel another 3 years, who knows? If it imparted more of that char taste I enjoy so much with JBB, it might be for the best.