Great Drinks for Dad On Father’s Day

El BuhoMan does not live by bread alone. And a father, well, he needs even more, what with the middle of the night wake-ups, the tantrums, and the exploded filthy diapers. I have four children. Under the age of 10. Just this evening, my four-year old got out of bed 7 or 8 times with assorted excuses, including “My eye hurts.”

Yes, my needs are many.

Come father’s day, my hope is that I can slip out at the sunrise and head to the river. There I’ll rent a rowboat, and make my way onto the water still turbid from today’s rain. Cormorants and other birds will lead me to a promising spot. I’ll pitch my anchor, bait treble hook rigs, and let the heavy line from two rods sink in the Potomac. With any luck, the catfish will hit, and I’ll return to dock midday feeling like a master caster.

That’s how I want to start my day.

And I will conclude Dad Day sitting outside with a glass in hand. A special day justifies a special drink, one I know and love. The possibilities are many, but any of these would do quite nicely:

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon: I really like this whiskey. It comes in a bulbous, perfume-like bottle that shows its deep amber color. Sometimes I can handle this 90 proof drink straight up; but usually I prefer it with a single ice cube, which softens it so I can better enjoy its rich flavors. It is worth every penny of the $30 to $35 a bottle my local retailer charges. Continue reading “Great Drinks for Dad On Father’s Day”


Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Editor’s note: We’re republishing this article from our archive as part of a reorganization of the site’s content.

Knob Creek
by Colin A. Dodds

If you ever wondered what was behind the grimace of Humphrey Bogart or John Wayne as they drank some nonspecific mixture in the movies of yesteryear, Knob Creek Straight Bourbon Whiskey is an edifying experience.

The key word in its extended name is ‘Straight’- this is alcohol first (100 proof) and beverage second. It has a dark, sharp

flavor with very little of the sweetness that characterizes bourbons like Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, and Old Crow. What sweetness it does possess takes the form of a subdued, almost smoky syrup-like undertone.

There is something refreshing about the flavor- in the way that standing out in the freezing cold until half of you burns and the other half is numb is refreshing. Even Wild Turkey and Old Grandad are not the trial by fire that Knob Creek is. To the less experienced bourbon drinker, Knob Creek burns in such a way that the drinker is torn between being proud of having swallowed it and the urge to

immediately wipe the taste from memory. The flavor reminds you of the very pain that alcohol supposedly undoes, elusive to the degree it is intense, unremitting…It is a fine bourbon for the ‘man on a mission,’ when that mission is to get drunk via a merciless and honest (for aren’t all merciless things ultimately honest?) bourbon.

Knob Creek had a brief advertising campaign a year or so ago. It had no laughing, socializing people in it. No indication is made of the of the goodtime possibilities of this drink. The ads consisted of the label, blown up to ad size. I realize now that this was the closest I have come in my short life to truth in advertising. The reason is this, Knob Creek is a bourbon of reckoning.

Sure, you can swill a couple glasses among friends and be howling happy. It will be the night of your life- provided you don’t end up in jail.  Then again, it still might be the night of your life.

But to me, Knob Creek is a solitary drink.  It’s just you and this rectagular, ancient-looking bottle, and a whole lot of taste. (Rating ****1/2)

Click here to order Knob Creek Whiskey, and surf here to read more about this Jim Beam product.


Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbons: Baker’s, Booker’s, Basil Hayden’s, and Knob Creek

By Ken Wohlrob

Attending an event hosted by the Kentucky Bourbon Circle (aka The Kentucky Springs Distilling Co. aka The Jim Beam family) is the whiskey fiend’s equivalent to attending a Business 101 class. The evening has a very instructional aspect to it, making sure that even the greenest whiskey virgin learns how to properly view, sniff, taste, and savor a whiskey properly. Hell they even broke out specially made bourbon glasses (reportedly the first of the kind) manufactured in Austria by Riedel Crystal specifically for the 2002 series of tastings the KBC was conducting.

Of course on hand to add a bit more entertainment value to the evening was Fred Noe, son of Booker Noe and great grandson of Jim Beam. Fred is a mountain of a human being who actually resembles Orson Welles in Touch of Evil. Noe is an interesting character with his tales of learning the business from the ground up by starting on the late shift at the distillery and the occasional story of Hank Williams Jr. getting so plowed he literally fell off a mountain. Stockbrokers, salesman, and lawyers all lined up to have Noe lead them through the tasting and answer questions on everything from whiskey’s classification as a “100% organic product” to how whiskey barrels are fired. Not exactly an event for the hardcore whiskey enthusiast, who already understands the finer points of bourbon production, but an excellent event for those who are more casual enthusiasts.

But I bring up Noe because the small batch bourbons we tasted that evening were crafted for the Kentuckian palette (especially Noe and his family). They are bred for a class of humans raised on the Kentucky Derby, mellow evenings spent sipping whiskey on the front porch and enjoying the occasional fistfight at the local bar. It is that interesting mix of raw edge and smoothness.

The two heavyweights of the quartet were Knob Creek and Booker’s. The former was already reviewed excellently by Colin Dodds previously. I won’t go any further except to say that Knob Creek has an amazingly long and strong finish to it. It has a stunning potency and smokiness that still smooths out with just a splash of tap water. Designed as a pre-prohibition whiskey, Knob Creek is very unique amongst these bourbons as it is aged longer to allow it time to absorb more sugar from the oak barrels.

Booker’s is Kentucky Spring Distilling’s masterpiece – developed by Booker Noe in the 1980s. At 121-127 proof it packs a wallop, yet much like Knob Creek, it is a Kentucky-bred whiskey – rough around the edges but smooth. Part of this is due to the bourbon being both uncut and unfiltered. It is both extremely sweet in aroma and taste; you can pick up vanilla and wood flavors lurking about. The taste is very full bodied and the finish is long and spicy (it seemed to last for about two weeks or so as I’m still tasting it while trying other whiskeys).

Compared to the two bourbons mentioned above, Basil Hayden’s and Baker’s seem designed for a much mellower palette. That’s not to say they are sub-standard, it’s just they have a less of a punch to them. Baker’s is very sweet and smooth with a cognac like flavor. It also boasts the strongest nose of the four bourbons partly due to its unique strain of jug yeast. Basil Hayden’s has a much spicier, almost peppery flavor, due to the higher concentration of barley and rye in its makeup. This also gives it a shorter finish and a lighter color.

While Knob Creek and Booker’s are both outstanding, Basil Hayden’s and Baker’s are decent bourbons, but not top notch when compared to the other two. However depending on the palette, one could feel the opposite. If you dig your bourbons strong or want the utmost quality, definitely reach for the Knob Creek or Bookers. If you want something mellower, take a chance on the Basil Hayden’s or Baker’s.

To see buy any or all of these whiskeys, click here and type “Baker’s” or “Knob Creek” or whichever in the search engine and click the magnifying glass image.