Monday, August 31, 2015

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2006 Vintage Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

- $30
- 86 Proof
- 11 years

Evan Williams Single Barrel is one of those bottles that I've seen on the shelves over and over again, but for one reason or another have grabbed something else.  Maybe the label just doesn't sell me well enough, or perhaps my mood just never moved me to grab it.  Whatever the reason, for some time it has been one of those bourbons that I knew was out there and I wanted to try, but kept putting off.

Well, it finally made it into my basket, home to my cabinet, and eventually into my glass.  Now don't get me wrong, I did not go into thinking that this is the next great bourbon or that it is something rare and special. As I noted, I've seen it everywhere.  What I was expecting, though, was a good, traditional bourbon, well-made and consistent through the last drop.  In that respect, I got exactly what I was expecting.

The nose is very soft, with no alcohol burn on the nostrils, but also with mild scents of caramel and vanilla.  There was nothing overpowering here, and I hoped that the bourbon itself would not come across as weak.

Luckily, there was nothing to be feared here. This is a very sweet bourbon, following the normal palate of flavors one would expect from a Kentucky Bourbon.  If anything, this one is heavier on the brown sugar notes than others, but still had those traditional vanilla and caramel flavors.  The vanilla, however, reminded me more of natural vanilla bean than usual, kind of like the difference between regular vanilla ice cream and vanilla bean ice cream.  Although subtle, the difference is noticeable and very enjoyable.

In my first few pours of this bourbon I noted on the back end a sour, acidic note that unfortunately followed the up-front sweetness and then lingered on the palate for a bit.  Because of how sweet this bourbon is on the front end, I was a bit surprised by the flavor on the back end.

However, about half-way through the bottle that sour, acidic note completely disappeared, allowing me to enjoy the bourbon flavors in full without the disappointment. The vanilla flavor seemed to grow stronger with each glass as well, but it never got to the point that it ruined the flavor. It just took on a different shade is all.

All in all, this is a good-but-not-great bourbon.  It is certainly well-above average, but doesn't do anything to stand out among the crowd, and my grade leaves it right there in that crowd of bourbons I've reviewed.

Grade: B

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