Sunday, July 4, 2021

Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon

- $22
- 90 Proof
- Kentucky

It's amazing to me whenever I consider how long I've been drinking whiskey, and in particular bourbon, and the fact that I make it a point to constantly try new bottles if only for the sake of content, and to realize just how many "standards" I still haven't tried. I even keep a running list in my phone of whiskeys that I simply need to get around to trying at some point, and I'm terrible at actually checking those bottles off.

This is one of those bottles, and apparently it took not only a redesign of the bottle to finally make me pick one up, but also a sale at Jewel. With so many good options with higher proofs, stated ages, fancy finishes, etc., I just don't find myself grabbing that $20, 90 proof bourbon off the bottom shelves. And I'm very self-aware that I'm doing myself a disservice, and this bottle definitely reminded me of that.

The nose had those traditional bourbon notes that we all know and love, with caramel and vanilla taking the forefront. It also had a bit of char to it, though, giving it a bit of a burnt sugar note. It didn't go entirely sweet, though, as there was also something earthy to it, like leather. 

What I enjoyed about the flavor is what I enjoyed about the nose. This is just a good, solid, traditional bourbon. While it did have a watery texture, that didn't seem to limit the flavor. I got the rich caramel notes, along with a fairly decent amount of spice. It had a peppery and cinnamon spice that seemed to balance out the sweetness perfectly.

On top of that, there was a nutty or woody quality that I really enjoyed. It was on the slightly sweeter end, perhaps like walnut. From time to time I also got a maraschino cherry note that I absolutely loved, and I wished was a bit more consistent. The finish didn't last very long, but nonetheless carried with it that caramel and black pepper spice, and even though short-lived, it was bold and delicious and did have me going back for more.

Overall, this is a winner for a bottom shelf whiskey. If someone asked me to give them a classic example of what Kentucky bourbon is, this would be a great option. I enjoyed it neat, and it stood up fairly well in an old fashioned. 

Grade: B

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