Today, I am reviewing a product that I have been looking forward to reviewing for some time.  This is definitely a popular bourbon, both among amateurs and connoisseurs – Evan Williams Single Barrel.  I am reviewing this year’s release, the 2002 Vintage.  For anybody curious, I currently have a bottle from barrel 758 in my cabinet right now.  HH- 055

Evan Williams Single Barrel is just what you might think; it is a vintaged version of Evan Williams Black Label, one of the better value bourbons that is readily available nowadays.  The Single Barrel Vintage series continues in that tradition.  I’m gonna take a moment to continue a plug for Heaven Hill’s ability to create very good whiskeys at very good prices.  With the exception of Larceny, which I was disappointed with, Heaven Hill makes some great value whiskeys (Elijah Craig 12 yr., Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond, Evan Williams Black Label).

The Single Barrel vintage series does not put age statements on their bottles; rather, they date their whiskey by indicating when the bourbon was “put in oak.”  It is also always bottled out of a single barrel, so results will vary on the final product, especially from vintage to vintage.  However, every vintage I have tried has been very good.  Evan Williams Single Barrel is bottled at 86.6 proof, and it is usually bottled around 9-10 years old.

On the nose, this bourbon balances nicely between herbal and sweet.  I definitely get notes of orange peel, basil, and cloves.  There is also a healthy sweetness to the nose, with good notes of maple, big black cherry, vanilla, and walnuts.  The palate brings a good amount of substance for only being 86.6 proof.  There are citrus, sweet fruit, and vanilla notes on the entry, and it moves to a warming combination of corn, caramel, and oak.   The finish is medium-length, but very tasty.  Flavors of oak, vanilla, and candied walnuts hang around for a nice while.

Overall, this is very good bourbon.  It is a nice blend of elegance and rugged bourbon quality.  The only note I wasn’t a big fan of was the black cherry that came up now and again on the palate.  However, it is a great bourbon to have around for a daily pour, especially because it won’t blow your doors off.  In some states, it is available for as little as $25/750ml.  That is a great deal for a bourbon of this quality.  The 2003 vintage should be coming out soon, and I have every reason to expect that will be just as solid a bourbon as the 2002 vintage.  My grade: B.  Price: $30-35/750ml.  This is very good stuff, and it won’t break the bank.  This is an ideal bourbon for sipping everyday.

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