Evan Williams

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

ABV
43.3%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak; ~9 Yrs
Recipe
~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.


Review: Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
50%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
~78% Corn, 10% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Heaven Hill (Bardstown, Kentucky)

Bottled-in-Bond whiskies are generally terrific value, and this is no exception. It generally comes in at a relatively cheap price point, and the whisky is worth a look, if you see it.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 9 51 51038

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Quite a bit of candy on the nose, with slightly out of key dried apricot notes, cement tiles,  and wet dirt with more honey and caramel coming off the nose as it sits. On the palate, it is quite hot but dominates with flavours of kombucha, dried berries, and caramel – a bit rough in places too. Lightly vegetal with some mentos and good mouthfeel on the finish.

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

Value: Average to High, at $37. Higher in some areas where this is quite cheap.


Review: Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
~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.