Aiming to combine traditional pocket knife designs with modern materials and technologies, Benchmade’s Crooked River knife first hit the market in 2016, just a year prior to the Oregon City outfit releasing a smaller Mini Crooked River. Now, after half a decade in production, Benchmade has opted to treat the Mini Crooked River to a second, all-new, limited-edition, spare-no-expense Gold Class variant.
Drawing inspiration from the landscape of the American Southwest, the Gold Class Mini Crooked River sees the regular knife’s stabilized wood handle jettisoned in favor of ochre, umber, turquoise, blue, and red scales composed of G-Carta — a proprietary composite made by G.L. Hansen & Sons that consists of natural fibers and fabrics mixed with epoxy under pressure and heat. The Gold Class model’s handle has also been treated to blue-anodized pivot rings, a tip-up split-arrow pocket clip, and a turquoise G-10 backspacer.
The biggest change to the knife, however, is found in its blade steel. The new Gold Class model replaces the standard version’s CPM S30V blade with a stunning Lizard-pattern Damascus steel blade from Chad Nichols — arguably the most celebrated producer of ultra-top-shelf exotic Wootz-style blade steels. The blade is also now deployed via blue-anodized thumb studs. Slightly lighter than the regular Mini Crooked River at just 3.20oz, the Gold Class version otherwise retains the same dimensions as the standard spec, as well as its trusty AXIS lock. Like the regular version of the Mini Crooked River, this Gold Class spec is also made entirely in America.
Limited to only 200 units worldwide, the Benchmade 15085-221 Gold Class Mini Crooked River is available now, with pricing set at $900. Each unit is also sold with an ultra-premium Alligator leather carrying pouch.