Every year since 1996 the family owned Heaven Hill Distillery has released the Evan Williams Single Barrel (EWSB) vintage bourbon. When it comes to Heaven Hill, I’ve always felt their products give you a lot of bang for your buck (with exception of Elijah Craig 20 year) and in recent years the EWSB bourbon has been a great bourbon at a great price. While not as talked about as other annual bourbon releases the EWSB has remained a constantly solid product. Which just goes to show you the immense talent of master distillers Craig and Parker Beam.
Now on to the review. Since it is a single barrel bourbon there will be variances from barrel to barrel. The bourbon I’ll be reviewing came from barrel #7 and was hand selected by the good folks at Binny’s Beverage Depot, who usually have a keen eye for quality barrels. Like all EWSB it’s aged around nine and a half years.
Appearance: Light to medium amber with slow moving legs
Nose: A beautiful nose filled with vanilla, maple syrup and cinnamon. Citrus fruits, leather and oak also add to this magnificent nose
Palate: On first entry we get just a hint of maple syrup and Demerara sugar sweetness along with those citrus notes that are ever so present in the nose. The sweet vanilla enters mid palate and continues to leave it’s mark well into the finish. The oak makes it presence towards the back but is not over bearing, considering its almost a decade old.
Overall: Where the past two releases were a little on the brutish side, the 2003 is very conservative when it comes to the alcohol heat and one of the most well rounded whiskeys in the EWSB line. Just a magnificent pour through and through. From start to finish the balance of this bourbon is calibrated to near perfection. Do yourself a favor and go out and grab a bottle (or two) of this bourbon.
Rating: 91 / * * * *S