Evan Williams - Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon (“Put in oak - 2003”)
Nose: This has a light, classic bourbon smell, with hints of grass and mint. The smell seemed to lighten the longer it stayed in the glass. Palate: This has a very nice classic bourbon taste to match the nose. It is on the sweet side and I didn’t pick up much or any rye flavor. I picked up on some of the usual caramel and vanilla, but overall it is very light and not at all complex. There aren’t a huge variety of flavors competing in this one. It has a light to medium mouth feel and a pretty short finish. It isn’t harsh nor burning and its heat is tempered, short and occurs mostly on the finish. There is a slight grainy and woody aftertaste. Comment: This guy clocks in at 86.6 proof. It is an older single barrel (barreled in 2003 and possibly as old as a 10 year old) that I’ve had it for a while (8 years?) and the bottle has probably been open nearly that long. This was a barrel picked out by the guys at at a local liquor store. I give them credit because they usually do a good job picking their barrels (their Eagle Rare from a couple years ago was a REALLY good choice). I think when I got this it was in the mid $20 range. You can still pick one up at that price today if you wait for a sale or shop wisely. I have, however, seen it at nearly $30. I think for the money, especially if you can get it in the low $20’s range, this is a good buy. It is a solid classic bourbon and makes for an easy sipper. The regular Evan Williams is one of the first bourbons I ever had…..I was dating a woman whose father drank nothing but the regular Evan, so I do have some nostalgic memories of this iconic name brand. Besides, the nostalgia factor, the bottom line on this is, I see this as an easy, every-day sipper and worth having on the shelf. After I bought this bottle, I started buying the Single Barrel every year, so I have many examples of this. Some day, I’ll do a tasting and try all of them to see how they held up over the years and how they compare. The Internet indicates that Evan Williams has been putting out these single barrels since 1983 (man, I’d love to try one from that far back to see what THAT tastes like!).