Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2001
Which seems like a good excuse to crack open this fresh bottle of the new Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2001 they sent me and have a taste. It will be out on the market in January, at a suggested retail of $26 (see what I mean about value?). Let's get at it.
First I had to wait for the whiskey to warm up -- I'm a cheap bastard when it comes to heating the home, and when it's just me here in the house during a working day, I keep the thermostat at 62 or lower. Not a great temp for tasting bourbon! So, warmed in my hands, the EWSB is starting to express itself. It's a markedly sweet nose, almost candy-like and tinged with vanilla, with a hint of wood spice, a touch of cedar, and real Heaven Hill/Parker Beam character. It's creamy on the tongue, like hot oil, and definite with corn, with a strong flip of spice on the end. This is not a cloying bourbon, not a lush one; the wood takes a firm hand. But it's not drying and astringent, either.
There's a very nice balance here between these two major bourbon components. There's a tendency among crazed bourbon aficionados to get 'Scotch envy' and go for the older, woodier bourbons; the Japanese, apparently, take that to an extreme. I've had some excellent older bourbons and ryes, but...there's a sweet spot here around 8 to 12 years that I'm really getting to like, though I'll happily admit that I love the Van Winkle 15, too. At 9 years old, this vintage, single barrel whiskey is hitting it right between the eyes.