"Hand bottled" is a real thing, although I don't see how it makes the whiskey taste any better. Buffalo Trace's single barrel line is essentially manual. Heaven's Hill's line for EWSB is as well. So is the line for Woodford. Very small, very slow, lots of people.
Beam has a single barrel line for Knob Single Barrel. Even though the rye isn't single barrel, they may be using that line just because it's low volume.
And, yes, that's probably the easiest way to transfer it from the r1 bottles.
In seriousness, though, labels are usually a long-term proposition and Beam doesn't think small. What about when Knob Rye gets big enough to go onto the big boy line?
First review is in - lots more pictures of the bottle there. Not really a great review in terms of depth - but they lost me at:
"At the same time, it has detectable, signature Beam whiskey notes."
bibamus, moriendum est
I've tried it. I did (am doing right now, in fact) a side-by-side with (ri)1 and the Knob Rye tastes like (ri)1 with another two years in the barrel, i.e., it's noticeably richer. People who like the LDI ryes will find this much more bourbon-like. It's clearly rye, with a dry finish, a little mint, a little new mown hay, and a little lilac.
Again, none of this is a surprise, and to some I know this will be damning with faint praise, but of the four Beam ryes, Knob Rye is definitely the best. They haven't announced a suggested retail, but I predict it will be the same as Knob bourbon in your market, which in Chicago means about $25.
So if you don't like Beam ryes, you won't like this, but if you thought (ri)1 could be improved by uping the ABV (Knob is 50%), aging it longer, cutting the price by about half, and putting it in a more normal-looking bottle, voila, your wish has been granted.
Selected markets will have it in March and everyone should have it by July.
Last edited by cowdery; 02-24-2012 at 17:00.
Since I like both of the KC offerings, I'll definitely be trying this one, as well.
I've never tried ri(1), only because I'm not willing to pay the price for it.