Tonight I'm talking about my favorite cooking bourbon. Some people might think that's an insult. That it means it is a bourbon so bad that all it is good for is hiding amongst other flavors. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I want to enjoy what I eat I had better use quality ingredients.
My go-to cooking bourbon will have to meet certain factors and the most important one of them will be that I like how it tastes.
The second factor is proof. When I bake, I pull out some water and substitute a little bourbon. You might have noticed that bourbon is much more expensive than water. Hence I want to use as little as possible while still giving me the flavor I want. As you probably know, higher proof bourbons tend to have less water added. As a result, there is also a tendency toward more flavor.
Cost and availablilty are the final factors. My go-to cooking bourbon won't be a Four Roses Limited Edition no matter how high the proof or how tasty the bourbon.
So that makes Knob Creek Single Barrel probably the perfect cooking bourbon. It is 120 proof. It's tasty. It's readily available and it won't break the bank. That isn't to say that I haven't given it the once over in the Glencairn Glass though. Here are my findings:
Nose: Earthy, lots of oak. There is some sweet underneath. Honestly, I'm finding that this smells just like the warehouse on the tour at the American Stillhouse.
Mouth: This is a sweet one! Tasted neat, I find this to be mostly caramel and heat.
Finsh: Sharp and spicy with a cool mintiness. It leaves a tingle on the tongue that lasts forever.
Overall: I like this bourbon, but not for drinking. I really don't like to drink super high proof bourbons. They fry my taste buds way too quick. And if I'm going to water it down anyway, I might as well go with the 100 proof Knob Creek and save myself some money. But as my go-to cooking bourbon, I love it. I've used this in my Bourbon Banana Bread and my Bourbon Doughnuts with great results.
So this is a tasty bourbon that is interesting in the glass. But for me, the really high proof makes it a meh for drinking. But that same proof makes it a love for cooking. Average that out and you get a like. And I really do like this. I just had to find a way to let it's flavor shine while holding back the proof. And for me that's in food.