Evan Williams 9yo 2000/2010 (43.3%, OB, Single Barrel #379)

Sometimes Master Quill tends to repeat himself, well, not really this time. Yes, In the fall of 2015, The Master did do a review of an Evan Williams Single Barrel bottling, and now here is yet another, but not a repetition, because luckily this “new” one is from a different vintage. The former review was this spicy 2003 vintage and this time we’ll have a go at a 2000 vintage. Is older better? I understand that the mash-bill for Evan Williams Single Barrel looks something like this: 78% corn, 12% barley and 10% rye. Lots of corn and not a lot of rye in this mash-bill. The “vintage” range already saw the light of day in 1986, so with this 2000 expression, Heaven Hill already had some 15 years of experience bottling this. So without further ado: take it away Evan, ehhh Master, ehhh Quill. Nevermind. Go, just take it away…

Color: Light orange brown.

Nose: Wood, lots of fresh cut oak. Perfumy. Sweetish and even more floral. Wood driven, but with lots going for it. Balanced and likeable. Greener notes come next, some hay and grass, oak and latex wall paint. More cuttings from the garden and after a while some more fruity notes appear. Slightly acidic and fresh, only adding to the balance. Hints of toffee and caramel. Excellent nose if you ask me. One moment fresh and lively and the next, deeper and more brooding. Definitely some Rye in here, but less so than expected, even though I didn’t expect a lot. After some more breathing, honey notes come forward. Smelling this after some sipping only enhance the honey notes that were almost absent from the start. Interesting.

Taste: On first entry, a bit thin to be honest. I prefer Bourbons at high strength, because especially Bourbons release their intricate aroma’s better at a higher proof. That said, this Single barrel smells very good and is definitely interesting (there is that word again), even when you like your Scotch Whiskies. Another sip. Well, this does the trick, beyond the low proof, some nice aroma’s emerge. Wood, latex paint again. Honey, hints of toasted oak and a tiny hint of leather. Definitely not as sweet as I would imagine, even though this Bourbon saw lots of corn. A slightly bitter note comes next, oak, tree sap, wax. The finish has less length than the nose and is also less complex. medium at best (and it has paper notes). Today the bitterness has some staying power which was less so on other days, so it depends on the taster (as always), time of day and the moment trying it. Aftertaste somewhat indistinct, so it definitely suffers from reduction to 43.3% ABV. Nope, in the taste department, this turns out to be much simpler than the nose promised.

For a nice evening with some Bourbons this is the starter. Well priced, and interesting, but I prefer other, (higher strength) Bourbons more. Compared to the earlier review, this 2000 example is softer (weaker is maybe a better word this time around) and less spicy, and also is lacking the licorice and cherry notes of the 2003. The 2003 is definitely a step up from the 2000. So yes, the date makes a difference. So choose your single cask vintage Evan Williams wisely!

Points: 81

Evan Williams 10yo 2003/2013 (43.3%, OB, Single Barrel #654)

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.

Evan Williams Vintage 2003Color: 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?

Points: 84