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The SCENE Magazine

Cullen’s Fifth Anniversary Barrel Arrives from Knob Creek

Feb 07, 2014 02:26AM ● By Corinne Moore
Knob Creek Tasting Party & Happy Hour: Wed., February 12 • 5-7 p.m

As part of its commitment to offer the finest selection of premium spirits in Houston, Cullen’s American Grille has acquired a remarkable barrel of Knob Creek single barrel reserve Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.  The Cullen’s Fifth Anniversary Barrel, personally selected by Cullen’s General Manger Ryan Roberts, commemorates the restaurant’s first five years of successful operation.

The latest addition to the over 350 varieties of whiskey offered at Cullen’s comes from a barrel chosen by Roberts during a visit to the Knob Creek distillery in Kentucky.  Thanks to a long-standing relationship with Jim Beam (the makers of Knob Creek), Roberts arranged for Fred Noe (Jim Beam’s grandson and a respected bourbon authority) to set aside a number of exceptional barrels for his inspection.

“I was able to taste from 26 barrels,” Roberts explains.  “Since most people like a sweeter bourbon, I chose the barrel with bourbon that was the sweetest and had the most character.”

Once Roberts decided which barrel would be served at Cullen’s, the bourbon was bottled with a custom label designating it as Cullen’s Fifth Anniversary Barrel and bearing Fred Noe’s signature.

The barrel contains 120 proof Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey which has been aged 9 years in new American white oak barrels charred over an open fire to produce a bold, complex flavor.  One barrel of bourbon produces 25 cases of six 750 ml. bottles.

“It’s been a great success so far,” Roberts reports, noting that Cullen’s sold over a case of the Fifth Anniversary Barrel in its first week of availability.

“We’ve always done well with bourbon,” Roberts says.  “We already had an impressive selection, but decided to expand.  There is a renewed interest in bourbon, and we wanted our customers to be able to try more styles at an affordable price.  Now we have one of the largest selections of bourbon in the city, if not the state.”

“Cullen’s is committed to bourbon,” Roberts says.  “It’s America’s spirit.  Bourbon is accessible, it’s fun, and there are tons of great products out there.  Bourbon is hot right now, and we don’t expect that to change.”

During the Knob Creek Tasting Party and Happy Hour on Wednesday, February 12 from 5-7 p.m., guests will have the chance to sample this exclusive Knob Creek single barrel, along with other Knob Creek products, while enjoying complimentary hors d’oeuvres. This event is open to the public at no charge, and will take place in Cullen’s newly renovated and impressive bar and lounge.

Cullen’s has recently added whiskey tasting flights to its menu, enabling customers to sample a variety of choices from the restaurant’s stock of premium spirits.  The flights, which offer three one-ounce pours, start at only $15 and allow guests to assemble a custom selection of whiskeys.  “Super Premium” flights are also available, featuring small-production, small-allocation offerings.

“More limited items are coming in all the time,” Roberts explains, noting that “Cullen’s has access to special allocations due to our relationships with producers. Distillers want their products to go to good homes, places where they are appreciated.”

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