If you’ve ever had the experience of re-reading a classic novel that you dismissed in high school (The Great Gatsby comes to mind), only to be staggered by its depth a decade or two later, you’ll have an idea of what we experienced tasting the new Knob Creek Single Barrel. (That is, if Fitzgerald returned to add some slight but pithy passages). We discovered Knob Creek early—it was big, it was sweet, it would put you on your can—and ultimately moved on to (we thought) more multifaceted, less omnipresent brown liquors. But this new single-barrel expression of Knob Creek, released in February, culled from barrels of nine-year-old bourbon that might otherwise go into blends for the standard label, has us reconsidering our snobbery. It’s still big, still sweet, and, at 120 proof, will most definitely still put you on your can; but there’s so much more to find here. Though it’s unmistakably a relative of Knob Creek, with that rich, cooked vanilla character, the single barrel is surlier, less predictable, with pockets full of roasted apples and clove tobacco. And some major-league heat. Water is really recommended. Side by side with a regular Knob Creek, we think you’ll find the original more compelling than you remember. And the single barrel is easily one of the best bourbons on the market at its price ($40). Some things are popular for a good reason. And some things—like good novels and good whiskey—are wasted on the young.