“The Bourbon King was first ambassador of reason and human happiness.”
– Heinrich Mann
Heaven Hill Distillery is one of my favorite distilleries in the United States. I’ve reviewed a few of their whiskies in the past (Rittenhouse and Elijah Craig) and I have loved them all. Whether or not you even prefer any of their whiskey, you can’t deny they put out consistent and high quality products. Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage (mine being the 2002 vintage) is another great example of a well constructed bourbon; a great choice which will not hurt the pocket book, it is as close to a craft presented product as one will get at the price. Each bottle includes a hand written barrel date, barrel number, and date of bottling, everything I like to see on a whiskey like this.
Evan Willams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Single Barrel Vintage (2002) Review:
Price: Around $28.95 for a 750ml bottle.
Packaging/Labeling: Even for the size of the distillery, they take their time to present a good bourbon with a clear face. Lots of information on the back label, as well as a booklet. My only complaint, even with the fact that I will always be happy with clear and practical packaging, is that the label itself feels a bit boring. You can only be so picky.
Alcoholic Content: 43.3% abv, 86.6 proof.
Nose: Very distinct buttery maple syrup, sweet caramel, nutty banana bread, agave, oak and floral notes. Vanilla cake and candy corn.
Palate: Thick and syrupy, but develops very pleasantly. Lots of seared oak covered in maple syrup. Progresses into clove and cinnamon spice which spreads rapidly over the palate. A lingering note of Red Hots make for a pleasantly long finish.
Conclusion: With the time and care taken to produce this whiskey it is a great buy at this price. And the fact that one can buy a new and unique expression every year even increases the intrinsic value of the product. That it can compete with many whiskies above its price point, through its grace and complexity, makes for good choice which beginners and experienced drinkers can both savor.