Evan Williams Single Barrel "Vintage"

Vintage.  It's a great word.  Its etymology, of course, is Anglo-French and refers to "a yield from a vineyard."  In the wine world, vintage can refer to the actual grape-picking process, it can be a reflection of quality, or it can indicate that the wine was produced from a single year's harvest.  In general, vintage means something old.  Something awesome.  Something worth sitting with for a while and really appreciating.

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage (EWSBV) is Heaven Hill's best widely available bourbon.  Craig Beam and his legendary father Parker select 9-10 year old barrels from their higher warehouse locations to be bottled at 86.6 proof.  While EWSBV is not a limited edition, it is an annual release (usually comes out of Bardstown in the late winter).  Amazingly, you can find it almost anywhere and the MSRP is less than $30.  Heaven Hill is currently in their 21st year of offering the Vintage.  The 2004 was a good release, which we've reviewed below.  We've also had the recent pleasure of drinking the 1991, the new 2006, and some others in between.  High marks for all.

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage (2004)

Heaven Hill Distillery
86.6 proof
9-10 years old
$28 at ABC in Richmond, VA
Bottle #1225.  Barreled on 8/13/2004.  Bottled on 9/17/2014.

Color: Rich amber.

Nose: A great balance between brown sugar, caramel, vanilla sweetness and aged oak, baking spices, and freshly cut lemon.  Lots of classic bourbon notes to ponder.  Before air time, this pour had a slightly medicinal character. 

Tasting Notes: The sip is sweet and gentle with maple syrup and brown sugar.  The mouthfeel is velvety smooth, reminiscent of its older cousin Elijah Craig 18 Year, but the oak and spices take hold for a lasting, pleasant finish.  

Overall: B+.  EWSBV 2004 is a pleasure to buy (because it's cheaper than a round of beers, a round of golf, or a round of Pacquiao/Mayweather) and it's a real pleasure to drink.  It is well-balanced, complex but classic, and it's vintage.  It is awesome.  

Peer Reviews: