Evan Williams began distillation in 1783 smack dab in the middle of what is now downtown Louisville. A man of many hats, William’s is considered one of the pioneers of Kentucky bourbon; indeed, he is rumored to be the first commercial Kentucky distiller.
Williams was a true entrepreneur, dabbling with stints as harbourmaster, politician, and farmer. Eventually, as his farm returned higher corn yields than he could sell at market, he began distilling his excess grain into whiskey that he would share with his fellow civic leaders. Today, Evan Williams is a Kentucky bourbon standard, ranking as the second highest selling bourbon in the world.
Under the umbrella of Heaven Hill distilleries and the tutelage of Master Distiller Craig Beam; Evan Williams Single Barrel has made a name for itself amongst newcomers and aficionados alike looking for the biggest bang for their buck. While the tradition of bottle age statements has declined recently, Evan Williams proudly stamps every Single Barrel with the year the bourbon was barreled. Keep in mind, however, that proof and flavor profiles vary as Master Distiller Craig Beam hand selects each barrel for this series.
My current bottle is aged seven years (having been barreled in 2009 and bottled in 2016). It has an abv of 43.3% abv or 86.6 proof with a mash bill of 78% corn, 10% rye, and 12% malted barley (http://drinkwire.liquor.com/post/mash-bills#gs.oJx=zWU).
Nose: strong vanilla, dry oak, with some toasted marshmallow and sweet corn.
Palate: creamy vanilla, with slight gala apple undertones that lends itself to fruity high notes and oily corn nuances.
Finish: Crisp light finish with little to no burn, this single barrel ends on a surprisingly light note without the stinging heat found in most higher end single barrels.
The toasted marshmallow and creamy vanilla notes insist upon a whiskey neat. Yet this easily drinkable bourbon is an all-day sipper that pairs well with a few ice cubes to keep yourself refreshed and thirsting for more.