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.
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.