Whisk(e)y certainly is a very global thing. Just read back a few posts and we have already been in Speyside, Scotland, Bangalore, India, and for this review we’ll cross another big Pond to have a look at a Bourbon called Evan Williams Vintage 2003 from Kentucky. This is a single barrel bottling. The barrel was filled on the eleventh of february 2003 and bottled on the last day of July 2013. Evan Williams himself, was a character who at the time of choosing the name, was supposedly the first person to distil Whiskey in Louisville Kentucky. In the end we may never know who was the first since not a lot is known from that time. Evan Williams Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made by Heaven Hill Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky, but bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky. Today the range consists of a Black Label, a Bottled in Bond (White Label) a 1783 (small batch) and we will have a look at this 2003 vintage single barrel. In the past also a special 23yo was released.
Color: Light orange gold.
Nose: Nicely sweet and toffeed. Good wood notes. Nutty and organic. Very spicy, balanced with quite some vanilla from the virgin oak. Pencil shavings, sawdust and quite a lot of honey and hot bees wax. It also carries hints of grass and cherries. Smells strict and modern.
Taste: Initially light and vegetal. Dry leaves, soft oak, but quickly followed by a nice mixture of wood and sweetness, with a hint of licorice. Very appetizing and likeable. Short finish, and the its way to light too. The watery finish drowns the plethora of aroma’s that are still there. Bummer. Luckily it does leave a pleasantly sweet, sawdust and honeyed aftertaste.
What baffles me the most is the strangely low ABV for a super premium bottling Bourbon, especially since there are quite a few other expressions of Evan Williams around that are also low proof. Maybe this is Heaven Hills low proof Bourbon brand? This is a very nice Bourbon, but still seems to be marketed as an easy drinking Bourbon for the masses despite its super premium status. I would like to see a single barrel bottling like this, (with this mashbill and ageing plan), to be bottled at barrel strength. Not necessarily replacing this reduced version though. I would like to see it as an addition. I’m hoping that cask strength vintage Evan Williams can be really a stunner. Sure Heaven Hill has other brands, but I like the taste and the flavor profile of the Evan Williams and would like to try it at cask strength. Please?