Review: Evan Williams Black Label
Evan Williams "Black Label" Kentucky Straight Bourbon, distilled by Heaven Hill and bottled at 43% ABV.
Price Range: $9-$12
Heaven Hill, the producer of Evan Williams, has a long and fascinating history which I will have to go into further detail at another time. Heaven Hill launched Evan Williams bourbon in 1957, 22 years after the company's founding. Since then, Evan Williams has become Heaven Hill's flagship brand, selling over $50 million dollars worth of whiskey in the last 12 months. Despite the the fact that Evan Williams is touted as being the second larges selling bourbon in the US, it has less than half the market share of Jim Beam white label and less than one fourth the market share of Jack Daniels.
Evan Williams is thought to use a traditional bourbon mash bill of 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% barley. Also, Evan William use to carry a 7 year age statement, but like many other whiskeys, it has dropped its age statement. Since there is no stated age on the label we know that it is at least 4 years old but some estimate the bourbon is probably more in the 5 to 6 year range. While Heaven Hill produces four versions of Evan Williams that vary by proof and the color of the label, (Green Label 40%ABV, Black Label 43%ABV, White Label 50%ABV, Red Label 50.5%ABV) the Black Label is the most common.
Evan Williams, or as my friends and I affectionately call it E-Dub, is an extremely undervalued bourbon. I was first introduced to Evan Williams three years ago when some friends of mine and I put together a blind tasting of whiskeys $20 and under and I was blown away by its flavor, quality, and price point. Since then Even Williams has become one of my favorite all time whiskeys. E-Dub is extremely versatile, it taste great neat, you can drink it on the rocks if that's your thing, and it makes an amazing Manhattan, all for about 10 bucks a fifth!
Nose: The nose is strong with notes of oak, cherries and vanilla. As the bourbon breaths, aromas of green apple and minerally chardonnay are carried up with a hint of the underlying alcohol.
Palate: The palate is smooth, with a medium body and a pleasant warmth that fills the mouth. The bourbon tastes lightly sweet with notes of oak, fresh bread and baking spice.
Finish: On the finish, the bready character lingers while higher notes of sweet cherry shine through and a light oak astringency drys the palate for the next drink.
Conclusion: Evan Williams Black Label is a high quality everyday bourbon that's easy on the bank account. As I said before, Evan Williams works neat and it is excellent mixed in cocktails. If you are not enamored with the extra aged, high-priced oak bomb bourbons that seem to be all the rage, then Evan Williams is an excellent bourbon to check out.