Review: Evan Williams Vintage Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

Virgin Charred Oak; ~9 Yrs
~78% Corn, 10% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Heaven Hill (Bardstown, Kentucky)

This line of Evan Williams is solely based on vintage releases, based on the distillation date - something you don't see often in whisky, and they have generally been terrific value and great tasting. Especially if you are in the states, where they can run quite a bit cheaper (~$30) than elsewhere - it is hard to find better value for a bourbon.

Review (2015)

  • Batch: 2004 Vintage

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2014

A nice, rich nose, with an elegant and syrupy corn body offset by some light white grape and light brown sugar, with a light intriguing oily note. The lightest bitterness is present on the nose, but once we hit the palate we get a rush of creamy corn and oak, alongside praline, which does some wonders and gently leads into the finish with a bit of a marshy-corn quality to it alongside some charred oak and butterscotch. Underneath, there is a bit of spice (ginger and old cinnamon) with light tannins. However, though well integrated and delicious, I wouldn't complain for a bit more complexity. Even at 43%, it doesn't feel like a lighter whisky (though doesn't seem cask strength, either!). Beside the black-labelled Evan Williams and the Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond, it is significantly more alive and complex.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $40.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: Barrel 238 (barreled 10-25-06, bottled 5-21-15; 2006 Vintage)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

A buttery, rich nose, with spicy, syrupy corn with bright fruitiness and improving with time – white grape, brown sugar, prune, oak, and some really interesting herbal notes – wormwood, cilantro, and orange peel that has been candied in star anise and clove. The palate is easy, and complex – with oily corn, wood, light orange, cinnamon, birch syrup, and light clove. The finish is light, oily, oaky, and sweet with some maple sugar. Really nice bourbon, not quite as nice as the above but not enough to rank it lower...

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $55.