*I don’t think this qualifies as an “archival bourbon” review, but please note the whiskey in this review is a slightly older, limited bottling and likely not readily available today. While newer Evan Williams Single Barrel vintages are available, they will not be the same as the one reviewed here.
This was one of my go-to summer getaway bottles this year. A treat to look forward to after spending the day swimming and applying layer after layer after layer of sunscreen and bug repellent to squirming children. With the wee ones tucked exhaustedly in their beds and the maddening whine of a mosquito in my ear, I’d kick back with a small, neat pour of this and reflect on the majestic beauty of the planet, the serene dappled lap of water in the sun, the soft tread of feet on a canopied Coniferous floor. Or I’d stare at my phone and wonder how I was going to manage to not scratch my leg off and whether or not I could stand to eat another hot dog or sand-covered slice of apple. Here in early November, with the temp in the teens and a dusting of snow already on the ground, those summer days seem long ago, so I thought there’s no better time to write this one up.
This 2007 vintage Evan Williams Single Barrel was put into the barrel on February 13, 2007, and then was taken out of the barrel on March 31, 2016, making this one exactly 9 years and 46 days old approximately, give or a take day for leap year and whatnot. All Evan Williams is made with Heaven Hill’s (reportedly) standard low rye bourbon mashbill of 78% corn, 10% rye, and 12% barley. This bottle came from…are you ready for this…barrel number 703.
The Nose: Upfront and rather oak-filled. There’s orange blossom honey, tangerines, and vanilla extract with a faint hint of butterscotch and toasted marshmallow as well. Lesser notes of sweet corn ice cream and a bit of toasted coconut. There’s a fair amount of oak throughout, both raw sanded boards and old polished wood. the spicier end of things holds dried orange peel, a good dose of nutmeg, a little cinnamon, and just a touch of peppery rye.
The Palate: Much of the nose carries over. There’s brown sugar and dark honey along with juicy orange and vanilla bean. Behind that, more peppery, toasty rye notes, along with salted nuts and unsweetened chocolate powder. Lots of persistent oak here, too, grippy and complex with black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. A bit of burnt popcorn and barrel char towards the end.
The Finish: There are hints of the earlier sweetness, but mostly, the finish is long, oaky and spicy.
Thoughts: This one did not disappoint in the least. I haven’t had one of these Single Barrels in a long time, the last one I reviewed was in 2011. This 2007 was a little woodier than I remember the profile being, and perhaps a bit more brash. The nose does a good job balancing the oak and the sweeter elements. The palate nearly gets off-kilter in that regard with the tannic wood coming on a little strong, but it manages to keep it all together. I think I got this for around $20, which makes it an excellent value. The current Single Barrel expressions go for around $23-$27…which is still a really good value. This has long been a delicious, dependable and affordable bottle, I’m already looking forward to the next vintage. Recommended.
Evan Williams Single Barrel, 2007 Vintage, +/-2016
- “Bourbon and Whiskey Mash Bills.” ModernThirst, ModernThirst, modernthirst.com/home/bourbon-whiskey-mash-bills/.
- My brain
- The side of the bottle.