January 29, 2012

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage

Most people know Evan Williams by its standard black label bottling. Perhaps less are aware of Evan Williams' "Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon." This review discusses the 2001 release. In fact, as the handwritten numbering on the back label tells me, the bourbon was put in the barrel on November 9, 2001 and put in the bottle on September 14, 2011.

EW Single Barrel clocks in at 86.6 proof. It has a honey-amber color, lighter than I would expect for spending 10 years in oak. It coats the glass well. The nose is predominantly spicy and peppery - almost hot. Notes of dark cherry pop up, too. Mixed in there is a bone dry sawdusty presence. Mouthfeel is more heavy than not, but not remarkably so. Evan Williams Single tastes of the woody, peppery spice revealed in its nose. There are sweet notes of burnt caramel, so calling that "sweet" is really a misnomer. Also, there is just a hint of dark, ripe fruit that springs up at just the right time to round out the dry spice. EW finishes with warmth and pepper.

Evan Williams Singel Barrel is defined by its peppery dryness. It calls to mind dried-out juniper branches. It has an old feel to it, like an antique. EW is an exploration is woody spiciness and should be appreciated for that alone. Oh, and I should mention that for this review I drank this bourbon neat, without any water added. I mention this because it's proof is right on the unwritten borderline where some folks like to add a bit. I'm sure EWSB may have a different profile with a few drops of H20, but that is the subject of a separate review.