Sunday, August 5, 2012

Evan Williams dusties

Evan Williams is a cheap american bourbon, it's on the shelves to compete with the likes of Jack Daniels and Jim Beam White. Pricewise it's very very cheap, at least in the US. In my opinion it's a better bourbon than Jack Daniel's and Jim Beam, but it's not really a big deal. Evan Williams got a lot more vanilla in the flavour and as such has a little more to offer. For some odd reason the label is very similar to the Jack Daniel's label, I wonder who was first in the design ?

I managed to grab a couple of dusties Evan Williams of and the first thing I note is that it has an age statement. 7 years old. If you buy a bottle today, it won't have an age statement. The next thing I note is the proof. 90 proof. Todays regular version is 43%

The third thing I noted on the bottles was the volume. One is 4/5 quart, the other is labeled both as 750ml and 25.4 fl. oz.. This makes it possible to determinate the age period of the bottlings. In 1979 and 1980 distilleries labeled bottles im both systems, then switched to only metric from 1981 and forward. So the first bottle is 1978 or older, the second bottle is from 1979 or 1980. The second bottle has "79" in the bottom and the first has "74" so my good guess is that the whiskeys are from these vintages, give or take, as a bottle could be manufactured earlier than the whiskey inside. So this is really exciting, as I here have bourbons produced in the 60's and in the 70's. The third bottle is Evan Williams Single Barrel vintage 2000 and it's a little less than 9 years old. Evan Williams being a Heaven Hill label, you can assume that this last bottle was distilled at Heaven Hill's Bernheim plant which they acquired from Diageo in 1998. The Old Heaven Hill distillery burned in 1996. But as it's not uncommon for Heaven Hill to source casks elsewhere you don't really know. In the period where Heaven Hill didn't have their own distillery they produced at Early Times, and up to this date the Rittenhouse Rye still is made there (It has been moved to Bernheim as well, but everything released up to this date as bottled in bond is still Early Times)

A trio of Evan Williams

1. Evan Williams 7yo 90 proof bottled 1974
A very nice nose, it's got a slight floral touch. The palate is sweet and full bodies and very well balanced. Hints of honey and fruits. This actual reminds me of older speysides. And all is goodness is well balanced on the wood. This is really a great bourbon. It reminds me of some old Stitzel Weller bottlings where also a lot of flavours easily emerge through the dominant wood that is always a trademark of bourbons. Yummy.
Rating 90 
2. Evan Williams 7yo 90 proof bottled 1979
More what I would expect from a bourbon this age. The wood and the rye spices are what hits me first. The body is good and very well balanced, but I mainly get the rye flavours and a somewhat higher alcohol burnb than the 74. But still a very nice bourbon.
Rating 82

Seems like something drastic happened between these bottling, and beside me being born, I don't know what happened. Maybe older barrels were used ?. Different mashbill ? (I doubt). Sourced casks ? 
3. Evan Williams Single Barrel 2000 barrel 117
Barreled 11/08 2000, Bottled 30/10 2009
I always expect single barrel selections to be better than the regular products. This also has a few more years in the barrel than the current Evan Williams which I reckon is probably around 6-7 years old.
Great Nose. This is more like the 74, with hints of honey and fruits appearing again. Vanilla and the wood impacts make me think of dry wood. Again a very different bourbon. The 74 was fruity and honeyed, the 79 was rye spiced and this is dominated by vanilla wood flavours. I also get some nutty flavours. And the rye spicyness on the finish. This is a classical bourbon and it has the flavours you wish and expect in a good bourbon.
Rating 87

Older versions of Heaven Hill bourbon is bottled as Elijah Craig. They also bottle a wheated version under the Old Fitzgerald label. Every year they release special premium batches under the Parker's Heritage Collection label. And their rye is, as mentioned above, Rittenhouse, which I have reviewed here:

 But it doesnt end with that, there's quite a few more labels under the HH umbrella

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