Even Williams Single Barrel
I bought my first bottle of Even Williams Single Barrel yesterday.
It is a pretty good bourbon I have to say.
It has a pretty good bottle design and I like how the dates are hand written on the back. But I'm not a big fan of cork tops. The mouth is always too big and you wind up getting runs after pouring. I like screw tops. Anyway, not a hill to die on.
I was a little disappointed with the nose. Everything I read lead me to believe that it would have a really good nose. Fragrant and heavy. But I found it to be pretty standard for a bourbon. It has a very standard "bourbon" smell about it. Corn and Charred Oak. Nothing that stands out about it too me.
The taste is pretty good. Pretty heavy on the charred oak though. I wouldn't say nearly as much as a Tennessee bourbon, not "charcoally" but there is a strong "burnt" taste to it. It is also sweet though, but I'm not sure if it's enough to round it out though for me. I have a big sweet tooth. There is not hint of ethanol, which is very good and I would say it has a mid-deep body. Nice color and a little depth. But not great character and depth.
The finish was a little disappointing. It was a little too short and hot for my taste. There was a little "stickyness" and a little tongue numbing and lingering after taste, but not as much as I would have liked. The predominant after taste is the burnt or charred Oak.
All in all, I wouldn't turn it down if offered to me, but for now, I'll stick with my Buffalo Trace.
Which year? It's going to vary a bit year-to-year and within a given year's selections. I see that as a step up from the monolithic sameness of, for example, Jack Daniels higher end bottlings.
I just picked up the last '97 bottle from a local shop. My Dad wanted to try, and we opened that one instead of the '94 that was in the cabinet. I still need to taste it and see what I think.
Buffalo Trace is some good stuff, definitely.
>>>>>Which year? It's going to vary a bit year-to-year and within a given year's selections...
Yes--year to year and barrel to barrel. Last year I had an Evan Williams Single Barrel from Binnys in Chicago that was rich with big caramel and vanilla, but still so smooth and gentle--it was just about perfect. The next one I bought (elsewhere) had hardly any character at all. Since then I''ve tried a couple that were right in between--nice flavors, gentle, subtle, but still complex and really tasty--hard to put it down. Sometimes they will be labeled as being selected by the retailer (like the one for Binny's in Chicago--which was gobsmacking). Buffalo Trace also have barrel selects that individual retailers spec out (like Cork & Bottle in Covington, KY which will often have two barrel selections available from Buffalo Trace or Weller that have different flavor and character).