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

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

This is the highest selling product that comes out of Heaven Hill, Kentucky’s second biggest distiller, and the second highest selling bourbon in the US. It’s traditionally created from a mix of 5-8 year old bourbons which are married together, and it has quite a high quantity of malted barley in the recipe relative to most bourbons.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Nose: Black tea, jasmine tea, a bit of black pepper, vanilla, and a lot of nuttiness too though my mind isn’t working tonight to tell me which nut exactly it is reminding me of. There’s a bit of peach and apricot. There’s also a bit of a floral, soapy smell – in line with the jasmine too. At first I assumed it must be my hands but it is definitely in there too, and there’s a light bit of creaminess in the nose too.

Taste: The black tea is also present on the palate, along with some toasted coconut, oak, and some slightly sour corn. It isn’t overly sweet, which is nice – especially after having tasted so many sweet bourbons of late. Interesting too, since I read after this review that Jim Murray thought it was too sweet. It isn’t very oaky but it has a nice slightly tannic feel to it which I quite like.

Finish: The oak comes out a bit more, with some more toasted coconut, almond, and dried apricot- but it’s light in feel and short in length, and has a touch of bitterness involved as well which is detracting a decent bit in this tasting.

Really this isn’t a bad bourbon. One great thing about Bourbon is the strict laws governing it, particularly dealing with wood, which means that the quality across the board is quite high. I also, in general, quite like what Heaven Hill does with their products – they seem to produce some pretty high quality stuff across the board and I have certainly enjoyed them.

Value: Average, at $28.