While Evan Williams may be best known for it’s $9.49 black label bourbon, the fact is the company makes a wide range of whiskeys spanning a range of price levels.
While not its most expensive concoction, this vintage-dated, single-barrel bourbon is near the top for the company, though at just $30 a bottle (sometimes less), it’s awfully affordable for what is the only vintage-dated single barrel Kentucky bourbon on the market.
EW’s been doing vintage single-barrel bourbon for at least a decade now, and the new 1999 bottling has yet to hit the market. I got a bottle from barrel #10, bottled on December 1, 2008.
The nose is immediately woody, a lumberyard aroma filling the room when you uncork the bottle. The initial taste bears that out as well, wood cut with some smokiness from spending almost 10 years in the barrel. More traditional bourbon character awaits underneath that thick layer of wood, with some light honey, vanilla, and even candy-like notes present. Still, this is a whiskey dominated by wood and smoke, and you’ll need to prepare for that accordingly. Some of that character fades as the whiskey opens up in the glass — improving the balance of the spirit considerably — so pour your after dinner quaff before you sit down to eat. It’ll be perfect by the time dessert arrives.