Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Black Label)
Nose: I picked up some medicinal scents mixed in with some cinnamon. The nose is pretty light and wasn’t nearly as close to “classic bourbon” as I expected. On later sniffs, I started getting some light mint. Palate: Very contrary to the nose, the first sip brought out a bunch of “classic bourbon” tastes. It has a light sweetness that combines with a “thicker” taste (i.e. woody/earthy). The mouthfeel is about in the medium range. I doesn’t have a great deal of heat and what little there is comes across as a nice warmth that gently kicks in during the finish. The finish doesn’t last very long and neither does the heat. Later sips brought out some nice dark chocolate and thick molasses flavors. This has a slightly earthy quality but it doesn’t really come across as a heavy oak taste. On much later sips, the mint from the nose shows up briefly and then disappears. What really ramps up in later sips is the caramel. That, and some brown sugar, bring out that sweetness on later sips. I didn’t get any rye spice at all in this one. Comments: This old standard clocks in at 86 proof. Named for somebody who did something back in bourbon history, this is the 2nd largest selling Kentucky Straight Bourbon in the world (behind Jim Beam). It is made by the Heaven Hill distillery and their website states it is 4-5 years old. The mashbill is 78% corn, 10% rye and 12% malted barley. I had not had the “regular” Evan Williams in quite a long time, so it took me a bit by surprise. Although not expensive, it shows that you don’t have to be, to be a very tasty whiskey. Evan Williams isn’t terribly complex, so don’t waste too much time trying to differentiate different flavors. Just enjoy it the way it is. If you like a sweeter bourbon, this is a very nice, inexpensive choice that can easily become a daily drinker. Bonus: It is available just about everywhere AND it won’t break the bank. Win/win.