Review: Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon 2000 Vintage

Here’s an outstanding return to form for Evan Williams’ Single Barrel bourbons, which the company’s been bottling for years, an amazing whisky that I highly recommend.

The 2000 Single Barrel shares a lot of DNA with the 1999, but while last year’s version is noteworthy for its lightly bitter, wood and charcoal finish, the 2000 is as smooth as can be. As with the ’99, there’s lots of honey, vanilla, and caramel in the body, but here an orange character is at play on the palate, with some floral notes and even a little herbal character. The finish is smooth and easy, a perfectly balanced whiskey at a ridiculously affordable price.

Sampled from barrel #1, bottled on 10/29/2009. 86.6 proof.

A+ / $26 / evanwilliams.com

evan williams single barrel bourbon 2000

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7 Responses to Review: Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon 2000 Vintage

  1. As a college student, Evan Williams black label has become my fallback for bourbon, at only $23 for 1.75L it’s affordable and delicious. However, I did try a bottle of the single barrel and it really didn’t seem that much better to me.

    My question for you is, have you gone to a liquor store and picked up a bottle, that presumably didn’t come from barrel #1? It seems to me that barrel #1 was bottled up and only sent out to bloggers who all gave it awesome reviews, but what I have not seen is a review of some other barrel and how it holds up to barrel #1.

  2. My experience was similar to Jon’s. I just got a bottle of the 2000 Single Barrel from my local BevMo, and after tasting it, I’m disappointed. All of the honey, vanilla, caramel, and citrus-y flavors are there, but so is a harsh bitterness, which I find unpleasant. There’s also a weird background flavor, sort of like the ester-y smell of rotting oranges, sort of like turpentine. Granted, it’s a mild undercurrent, but enough the throw the balance of this bourbon way off for me; my palate gets tricked into expecting sweet and floral flavors, only to be fooled by the spirit’s actual astringency and bitterness.

    Not bad stuff, but not that good, either.

    Chris, if you get a chance to sample from other bottles (or barrels, as it were), would you let us know if any of your thoughts have changed? I’m curious to know if Barrel no. 1 is an anomaly.

    The “specs” on my bottle:
    Barreled: 3/30/09
    Barrel no. 132
    Bottled: 11/10/09

  3. I just tried a bottle with the following “specs”:
    Barreled on: 8-14-00
    Barrel No. 339
    Bottled on 1-29-10
    This is a wonderfully smooth bourbon. No bitterness at all. Sweet, woody aroma. Goes down very easy with no unpleasant aftertaste.

  4. I bought bottle #481 on a whim and was extremely impressed. Strong hints of butterscotch on the nose, very smooth on the palate, with a mellow spiciness in the finish. I was very pleased to say the least.

    Went back to the liquor store and bought bottle #444. Unimpressive. very harsh as other people have mentioned previously. Still hints of vanilla and caramel, but only vague traces accompanied by a strong and overbearing presence of alcohol harshness.

    I guess this was an interesting experience for me–experiencing the possible differences between barrels of the same vintage.

  5. Best. Bourbon. Ever. If you see this at your liquor store, do not leave without it. I don’t care what you have to do. Do stuff you haven’t done since college. Or pay money for it and make the transaction legitimate. Seriously, if you like bourbon, this will make you about half as happy as celebrating the birth of your first child. That’s still pretty good!

  6. Pingback: Drinkhacker’s 2009 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas » Drinkhacker.com

  7. Pingback: Review: Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon 2002 Vintage | Drinkhacker.com

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