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Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2004

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2004

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage is produced by Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Kentucky. HH bottles a wide range of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys under the Evan Williams brand including:

  • Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage, 86.6 proof, (age varies by year and barrel)
  • Evan Williams White Label, 100 proof, NAS but at least 4 years old (Bottled in Bond)
  • Evan Williams Green Label, 80 proof, NAS
  • Evan Williams Black Label, 86 proof, NAS
  • Evan Williams 1783, 86 proof, NAS
  • Evan Williams 23 year old, 107 proof (Only available at the HH Bourbon Heritage Center gift shop)
  • Evan Williams Red Label, 101 proof, 12 years old (Only available at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience)

Until recently (2015) the red label was an export only and wasn't sold anywhere in the USA.

Heaven Hill has been releasing the EWSB for more than 20 years beginning with the 1986 vintage. Each vintage year will consist of different barrels with slight variations in age. Now just to be clear, EWSB is not age stated according to the TTB labeling requirements. That being said anyone can figure out the age from the "barreled on" and "bottled on" dates on the rear label. As the popularity of Bourbon rises it seems that the age of EWSB has begun to ever so slightly decrease in the past few years. HH has also begun to release the vintages earlier each year starting with 2016. The 2006 was released early in June 2015 and the 2007 vintage was released in February 2016. Check out the press release where HH admits that it had to release the 2006 vintage early because they ran out of the 2005 vintage sooner than expected. That being said its well know that HH is experiencing growing pains with the recent Elijah Craig 12 label change/NAS debacle. On to the review. 

Cost: $24.50 pre tax in South Carolina. 

Distillery: Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc.

Proof: 86.6

Age: 9 years, 10 months, 16 days

Mashbill: 78% Corn / 10% Rye / 12% Barley

Barreled On: 9/29/04

Bottled On: 8-15-14

Barrel #: 1075

Pour: 2 oz neat in a Scottish Glencairn

Nose: Starts out with some complex sweets including warm maple syrup and caramel chews. Next up is mellow oak and faint wood varnish. Finally some spices including cinnamon, white pepper and fresh mint.

Palate: Light to medium viscosity leads right into caramel and brown sugar. Cinnamon, coarse black pepper and dry oak round things out.

Finish: Medium long finish with more white pepper and ginger candy. Mouth coating dryness and slight heat linger. Finish is slightly hotter than would be expected for a proof of 86.6.

Score: 3.5/5

Out of all the different EWSB vintages and barrels I have had in the past couple of years, this is my favorite. The oak is perfectly balanced - noticeable and well integrated without being over bearing or tannic. This barrel really opened my eyes to how good bourbons can be with the right touch of oak. Elijah Craig 12 has always been too oak forward for me but this hits the sweet spot somewhere between EC12 and Henry McKenna BIB. Mileage may vary as each vintage and barrel are going to have slight differences in flavor/aroma characteristics. I don't condone hoarding or shelf clearing just for the sake of bolstering one's bunker but I'm not going to lie - I did grab the last couple bottles of this barrel I could find on the shelves. 

EWSB has got to be one of the best value bourbons on the shelf. Single barrel, 8-10 years old priced under $30. Also, don't let the low proof (86.6) fool you, this is well balanced and by no means watered down. Price and value are not factored into my scores because they dilute the perception of the juice in the bottle. That being said, the combination of price and score make this bourbon a no brainer. If you look hard enough you can still find older vintages of EWSB sitting on the shelves of smaller and out of the way liquor stores. Cheers. 

Recommended: Henry McKenna Bottled In Bond, Elijah Craig 12, Evan Williams Bottled In Bond

- Mark @ Entry Proof

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