BourbonGuy 2017 Bourbon of the Year: Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Single Barrel, Ace Spirits

I can see the question in your eyes as you read this. Why, after five years of publishing this site, did you finally decide to do something as gimmicky as a "Bourbon of the Year" award?

And I admit, I've scoffed at them on other sites for as long as I've been reading other sites. But, I do have an answer and it's honestly really simple. I've finally found one that I'd be willing to put my own reputation behind. I stumbled across a bourbon that was so good that it needed more than just a heart icon. 

And I do mean stumbled. Back in late summer, I got an email from Ace Spirits (I'm on their email marketing list, it wasn't some special heads-up or anything) mentioning that the barrel of Knob Creek 25th Anniversary was going to be arriving soon. On a whim, I decided to preorder it, even though it was well beyond my personal price ceiling. I immediately regretted it. $165 for a single bottle of bourbon will do that to you. Especially when that meant that my whiskey budget for my upcoming trip to Kentucky was going to be $165 shorter than normal.

But by the time the bottle came in, I was over that and had moved on to anticipation. I took it home, tried it, thought to myself "Ooh, I can't wait to review this." Then I went to Kentucky and promptly forgot about it. Over the intervening months, I would occasionally pour myself a glass. This was one I didn't want to rush through. And then last week, I realized that I had forgotten to review it. 

And so the 2017 Bourbon of the Year award was born. This is the best bottle I bought this year. It was better than the Rebel Yell Single Barrel. It was better than the Four Roses Limited. It was better than the 2016 Yellowstone I purchased and the 2017 one I got a sample of. This is in the conversation for the best bourbon I've ever had (of course, memories are notoriously biased). 

So what do we know about this barrel of bourbon? It is part of the Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Single Barrel brand. It is barrel strength at 61.6% ABV. It is 13 years old. And it is delicious. 

Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Single Barrel, Ace Spirits

Purchase Info: $165 for a 750 mL bottle at Ace Spirits, Hopkins, MN (after tax, I can't find the original receipt since I thought I had already reviewed it).

Details: Barrel Date: 5/13/2004, 61.6% ABV, Barrel #: 5166, Warehouse L, Floor 3, Rick 32, Tier 3. 

Nose: Dusty oak, caramel, vanilla, cocoa. Essentially a perfect bourbon nose.

Mouth: Shows its proof by being very hot on the first sip. I'm getting caramel, cocoa, oak, and vanilla. Very similar to the nose. 

Finish: Long and warm with lingering notes of rich dark chocolate, cinnamon, coconut, and caramel. 


Thoughts: The nose and mouth are very good, but the finish is what makes this the best bourbon I've had this year. The finish is simply phenomenal. 

Notice: Starting tomorrow, I'm finally taking a real vacation where I won't be working at all. I'll be back after the first of the new year. In the meantime, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and thank you for being a loyal reader. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, Thanks!