Class: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Price: $14-20 U.S. Retail
A step up in age and proof over the standard Evan Williams Black Label, Heaven Hill's bottled in bond offering of the Evan Williams brand represents one of the cheapest bottled in bond bourbons in America, as well as one of the cheapest bourbons bottled at 50% ABV. To be labeled as bottled in bond (or "bonded"), along with all of the regulations for qualifying as "Straight Whiskey", the whiskey must also be the product of a single distillation season, produced by only one distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least 4 years, and bottled at exactly 100 proof (50% ABV). The label for the whiskey must also identify the distillery that produced it. For a bit more background information on the Evan Williams bourbon brand, check out our review of the Black Label (linked above).
- Distilled, aged, and bottled by Heaven Hill in Louisville, KY
- Mash of 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
- Aged at least 4 years (no age statement on label)
- Bottled at 50% ABV
Nose: Mild cherry and honeyed sweetness with a nice subtle floral note woven through it. Under the sweetness is a fresh, green sapling wood note that's a bit tart, along with a touch of black pepper.
Palate: Light caramel, toffee, and vanilla give way to tart cherries, charred oak and black pepper. The collage of flavors blend together well. A bit of honey and cinnamon come through as the dram fully develops.
Finish: While fairly short, the finish is eventful. Cherry bubblegum lingers alongside an earthy cream corn note and a bit of peppery sour oak. All in all, the finish is a tad rough and dry.
- Nose - 70
- Palate - 62
- Finish - 58
- Overall - 64/100
Buying Recommendation: Worth buying a pour*. I've put an asterisk on my recommendation, because by "a pour" I really mean that if you want to try this you should just buy a full bottle. This bourbon has above average flavor with big notes of cherries, pepper, oak, and sweets. Where it falls short is in its overall balance and the permeation of some ethanol harshness throughout the palate and finish. This bourbon transitions from sweet to hot to overly dry.
At it's price range it's hard to beat, but in the grand scheme of bourbon, it just has a couple detractors keeping it from being a real gem. At $15ish for a bottle, you've got little to lose, and just finding a bar to serve you a single pour will likely cost you about half of the full bottle price. At the very least you'll have a solid cocktail mixer on your shelf.
The Rating Scale
At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92). This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys. Here is how the scale breaks down:
1-49: Varying degrees of bad
60-69: Better than average
90+: truly exceptional
All thoughts and opinions expressed are original to the author of the review or article. We are in no way paid to express any specific opinion about any specific company or product.