EZdrinking

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary.

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary. EZdrinking is a drinks blog by Eric Zandona that focuses on distilled spirits, wine, craft beer and specialty coffee. Here you can find reviews of drinks, drink books, articles about current & historical trends, as well as how to make liqueurs, bitters, and other spirit based drinks at home.

Filtering by Tag: Single Barrel

Review: Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2002 Vintage Kentucky Straight Bourbon, distilled by Heaven Hill Distilleries and bottled at 43.3% ABV. 

Price Range: $20-$25

Heaven Hill released their first single barrel vintage bourbon in 1995. While this is not the first single barrel bourbon ever released, that distinction belongs to Blanton's Bourbon, Heaven Hill distinguishes this product by only selecting barrels from the same year the bourbon was put in oak. Many other single barrel whiskies select their barrels based on a similar flavor profile rather than age. Each year, their Master Distillers Parker and Craig Beam select "honey" barrels that come from the upper floors of their rick houses. They explain that these upper floors experience the greatest annual temperature swings which they believe results in a bourbon that is deeper in color and richer in flavor. While the Evan Williams Single Barrel does not list an age statement, each vintage lists the date the spirit went into the barrel and the date the bourbon was bottled, which is usually nine or ten years.

TASTING NOTES

Nose: The nose is rich and powerful, full of caramel and vanilla with undertones of cedar sweet cherries and persimmons.

Palate: The palate is surprisingly light and delicate though the alcohol is initially a little strong. The bourbon is slightly sweet and fruity however it is well balanced with oak.

Finish: The finish had a light dryness from the oak which initially tastes slightly nutty and salty. As the flavors linger, sweet notes of raspberries and cherries come back to the fore.

Conclusion: With its lighter and more delicate flavors, Evan Williams Single Barrel 2002 Vintage is a great bourbon to sip neat, especially for its sub $30 price tag. Given a little time to breath in the glass, some of the strong alcohol notes that are initially intense blow off and you are left with a pleasant and smooth bourbon. Evan Williams Single Barrel is also one of my favorite bourbons to give as a gift because it is often completely new to the recipient, it tastes fantastic and it is super affordable.

Review: Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon

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Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon, distilled by Sazerac Co. at Buffalo Trace Distillery and bottled at 46.5% ABV. 

Price Range: $45-$60

As the story goes, Elmer T. Lee, Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace decided to create a new and innovative bottling for bourbon lovers by producing the world's first single barrel bourbon.  Since 1984, the concept of single barrel spirits has been copied throughout the spirits industry and in part helped birth the "small batch" category which has dominated the growth and sales of premium spirits for the last 20 years.

The bourbon is named after Colonel Albert B. Blanton who began working at what today is the Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1897 when he was 16 years old. Blanton worked his way up the company ladder from an office boy to president of the distillery. During National Prohibition, the government gave Blanton permission to continue making whiskey for "medicinal" purposes which makes it one of oldest continuously operating distilleries in the United States. 

TASTING NOTES

Nose: The nose is light and fruity, reminiscent of candied apple and ripe pear. Underlying these bright top notes are deeper aromas of oak and yeasty bread.

Palate: Neat, Blanton's is very hot and screams for a dash of water. Once my tongue recovered a bit from the impact of the alcohol, the bourbon has a medium body with light sweetness, hints of vanilla and bright lemon zest.  

Finish: The finish is incredibly long with that is semi-dry from the wood tannins. The flavor on the finish shows notes of coffee and an herbaceousness reminiscent of rosemary.

With Water: The sharp heat mellows with the addition of water and the initial sweetness on the tongue intensifies and then transitions to baking spices. The finish is both herbal and sweet not unlike a cough lozenge. 

Conclusion: Blanton's is a fine bourbon though not completely my cup of tea. For fan's of Buffalo Trace, it is definitely worth trying but I felt the balance was off. The heat from the alcohol overshadows most of the flavors and the combination of sweet and herbal flavors are not what I usually look for in a bourbon. I imagine that Blanton's would work well in cocktails that call for sweet vermouth or for those who like to drink their bourbon on the rocks.

Thank you to Rachel for the sample.