...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

NOT Single Malt Report: Evan Williams Green Label Straight Bourbon Whiskey (2013)

Heaven Hill distillery produces some small miracles.  There's the Elijah Craig 12yo Small Batch (if you can find it) and McKenna 10yo BIB, low-priced high-quality well-aged bourbons at excellent prices.  Then there's the Evan Williams brand which is basically good quality bourbon priced SUPER cheaply.  Having spent most of my time and energy dealing with Scotch whisky, I can't even begin to understand how Heaven Hill can sell a very drinkable whiskey (Evan Williams Black Label) for $10.

Unseen in most states, Evan Williams Green Label is even cheaper than their Black Label.  I've been trying to get my hands on a bottle for review purposes for a few years now.  Luckily, I just happened to drive through 12 states last week and quickly found a 375mL bottle of Green for $4.99.  The liquor store also had a 750mL bottle for $8.  Yes, eight dollars.  I went with the smaller bottle because I am that cheap.  I couldn't wait until the end of my trip to open it...
So in honor of July 4th, I'm reviewing an American whiskey on July 5th.  USA! USA! USA!

Distiller: Heaven Hill
Brand: Evan Williams
Type: Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Region: Louisville, Kentucky
Maturation: New American oak
Age: ???
Mashbill: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley (I think)
Bottle Code: L3102
Bottling Year: 2013
Alcohol by Volume: 40%

Nose - In a Glencairn it's loaded with vanilla, caramel, and orange peel, followed by moderate notes of cherry bubblegum and corn syrup.  In a tumbler there's a little bit of vanilla and caramel.  Slightly salty with some lumber notes.

Palate - In a Glencairn there's mild barrel char, mild heat, and mild rye notes.  There's a good Heath bar note, though it's not too sweet.  A hint of pencil shavings around the edges.  In a tumbler there's peppery heat and prickly wood spices followed by sharp tart limes and caramel corn.

Finish - In a Glencairn it's mostly baking spice and barrel char.  No sugary sweetness.  In a tumbler it has a nice simple peppery/chili kick that lingers long.

Cocktails - Green Label shows best as a highball or an Old Fashioned.  Very crisp and refreshing for warm summer evenings.

I'll repeat what I said in my tweet above, this is better than most or all blended scotch in the $25 range.  It smells gorgeous in a glencairn glass though it seems to taste and finish better in a tumbler.  It works in cocktails and hotel plastic cups.  I'm not going to tell you this is a sophisticated whiskey, nor an excellent whiskey, but it delivers in full and that's more than a person can reasonably expect from a $8 whiskey.

Availability - Some states but not others :-/
Pricing - $8-$11 (750mL)
Rating - 80