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On my 21st birthday, a long-time whiskey drinking friend suggested I try a shot of Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve neat. The bold, spicy flavor was so strong I almost did a spit take. It was a sobering experience (figuratively, at least), and one that would carry me through my whiskey drinking career.

Jim Beam first introduced Knob Creek in 1992. The brand is known for its “big bold” Prohibition-style flavor. According to their website, the end of Prohibition caused a rush of younger whiskeys to be pushed to market giving Americans a taste for so-called softer whiskeys. But Booker Noe (famous…

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