Sipp’n Corn Bourbon Review – Corner Creek Reserve
Posted on November 28, 2013
by Brian Haara
Bourbon: Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon Whiskey. 88 Proof; NAS.
Distillery: Who knows? The label states “Corner Creek Distilling Co.,” but that’s just one of the many assumed names of Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. Worse, this assumed name has been inactive since 2003. Does KBD have so many assumed names that it can’t keep track of them and renew the certificates as needed?
Not complex. Soft nut and vanilla flavors. It lost any discernable nose with a splash of water.
No heat or bite, which I missed. Smooth and sweet, and no complexity. The lower proof was noticeable. Definitely drink Corner Creek neat; it’s already watered-down enough.
A dry finish that was only slightly warm and pretty short. Oak flavors dominated, with a little medicinal flavors at the very end.
While bourbon hunting I struck up a conversation with the owner of a small liquor store in LaGrange, Kentucky. Of course he didn’t have what I was looking for, but he went on and on about Corner Creek. He has family in from Pennsylvania every Thanksgiving and they make special requests for him to be sure to have Corner Creek. Then he told me a story about how Corner Creek was started by guys from the wine business who are now distilling in Bardstown. I hoped that he was just misinformed instead of lying to me, because I knew that Corner Creek was part of the KBD portfolio.
Maybe he was just relying on the label, which claims Corner Creek is produced “in the tradition of the great wine importers,” or maybe it was the wine-styled bottle (with the Bob Ross landscape art). Or maybe it was just a sales pitch. But he was extremely friendly so I didn’t challenge him. Not only that, I decided to buy a bottle.
My final recommendation is that Corner Creek is fine, but it’s under-powered and it left me wishing for more complexity and bite. Additionally, there are so many other options in this crowded price range (or lower) that you should try first, like Four Roses “Yellow Label” and Small Batch, Elijah Craig 12, anything in the Weller lineup, Maker’s Mark or Bulleit. As a bonus, we know where each of those are distilled and aged (even Bulleit, at least for the time being). I would prefer all of these over Corner Creek.
Score on The Sipp’n Corn Scale: 2.5
The Sipp’n Corn Scale:
1 – Wouldn’t even accept a free drink of it.
2 – Would gladly drink it if someone else was buying.
3 – Glad to include this in my bar.
4 – Excellent bourbon. Worth the price and I’m sure to always have it in my bar.
5 – Wow. I’ll search high and low to get another bottle of this.
Sipping Corner Creek tonight and agree with this review. I've been slowly working my way through this bottle for quite a while, but my impression remains consistent with yours. I'm getting some warming spice at the end yielding a relatively short but warm finish, but the spice is not really flavorful (or, if anything, that medicinal family of flavors you reference). I've had some tasty drinks from KBD, but this is not one of my favorites. Great Blog!Alec P.
Thanks! You're certainly right about KBD's other offerings, and it might be interesting to compare to see if there are similarities with Kentucky Vintage (the closest by proof), although there's no way of knowing whether they're from the same distillery. I haven't opened my Corner Creek since this review, but I think I'll try it again. Cheers!
I just tried Corner Creek a couple weeks ago in a Manhattan and really enjoy it in that drink. Bulleit or Woodford Reserve is generally our go-to for the cocktail, but Corner Creek's sweetness and vanilla notes add a different flavor. Great blog!
Thanks for reading and commenting! I haven't tried Corner Creek in a cocktail, but I suspect that it would be fine in a cocktail since it is not overly sweet. I am a fan of Bulleit in cocktails precisely because of its spice, and for the same reason you might want to try Four Roses Single Barrel in your next cocktail. Cheers!
Everyone is talking about Four Rose Single Barrel or Small Batch but what about Buffalo Trace? This is also one of the most understated bourbons (at this price) and better than Four Roses yellow label in mixed drinks IMHO. It is most flavorful with nice spice notes yet not too sweet and perfect for mixing high end bourbon cocktails. My fav at this price range for sure. 4.5/5
Corner Creek is vastly superior to four roses yellow. In fact it surpasses weller's reserve in my book. Easily. It reminds me of mellower version of Noah's Mill. It's phenomenal for the price. One of my favorite sipping whiskeys. Whiskey doesn't have to in your face to be complex. Corner Creek is subtle and complex. If you want a wonderful smooth but surprisingly deep bourbon ignore this review and go for it.