Guess what? My desk is literally drowning in brown spirits. Due to some writing projects, PR companies and various importers, I’ve managed to accumulate a number of whisky bottles, some calvados, bourbons, ryes, Canadian whiskies, and brandies of all types and origins. So let’s talk about some of them and clear off my desk.

Knob Creek’s Single Barrel Reserve (aged nine years!) showed up recently, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the Knobber. Booker Noe, the legendary man behind the brand wanted to make premium, small batch bourbon, and he did a pretty good job – this is premium, bourbon drinkers’ bourbon. The bourbon in the single barrel reserve comes from a single barrel, so from time to time you might see slight variations in subsequent purchases.

Peeling the wax seal from the neck and popping the top was pretty gratifying, but pouring it was even better. The barest perfumed aromas hit my nose: it’s completely evocative of sandalwood, leather, canvas and spice. Like what I imagine the Marlborough man might smell like if he didn’t smoke and used vanilla-scented shaving cream and lemon-scented soap.

But I’ll tell you, that 120 proof (60 per cent ABV) is fiery and delicious in your mouth. Almost intangible texture-wise, it dries the mouth leaving an almost Sambuca-like sensation after swallowing, a fitting close for those anise, vanilla, nut and woody flavours. I drank it neat (at about 10 a.m. on a Thursday, thanks for asking), but a little water would really open it up if that’s how you like your poison. I imagine it would also be quite enjoyable with a cigar in the other hand.

Highly recommended. This will set you back about $51 in Alberta. Find a local liquor store that sells it at using the CSPC code 326009

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