Evan Williams Bottled in Bond (50%)

Evan Williams is produced by Heaven Hill in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to Evan Williams, Heaven Hill also produces Elijag Graig, Larceny and Old Fitzgerald brands. Evan Williams Bottled in Bond, which is also called “White Label” is apparently the same stuff as the company’s better known Kentucky Straight  “Black Label”. It is just bottled at 50% ABV (100 proof) strength. The distillate has been matured for 4 years in an oak barrel. A 50 cl bottle costs €12.95.

Story tells that bourbon got its name from Evan Williams, a Welshman who immigrated to America and is said to be the first man to start whiskey production in Kentucky in 1783. There is still a monument in Louisville where the first distillery was located.

The nose is quite mild, with a hint of caramel and oak. The alcohol itself doesn’t sting the nose, but you can feel that it’s quite a strong spirit. With a small addition of water, you get a lot more life in the nose. It adds vanilla, plum/fig or some other dried fruit. At 50% strength, the taste is sharp and burning. The bitter burn of ethanol pushes the flavors away, and the whiskey, at least for me, really is not a neat sipper. But a teaspoon of water in a glass calms it down pleasantly. The taste is quite sweet and caramel and the honeyed sweetness with vanilla is most clearly present at the beginning. In the middle stage, a bit of fruitiness and peppery rye aroma creeps in. The aftertaste shows a dry and slightly bitter oakiness. Quite a varied palette, therefore, and clearly more versatile than Evan Williams’ basic version.

50% strength is at least too much for me, but with the addition of water, you get a pleasant and versatile bourbon. Of course, whiskey is suitable for cocktails, but the amounts should be proportioned a bit so that the cocktail does not become too strong. Decent and tasty bourbon with a reasonable price


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