After bemoaning the problem of "mass market" single barrel bourbon, it's nice to see Evan Williams taking a slightly different approach - by providing a vintage, they give themselves the flexibility to explore different flavour profiles every year, and expose some of that individuality I was muttering about yesterday.
Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2004 is bottled at a restrained 43.3% ABV - a bit different, as single barrel spirits are commonly bottled at cask strength.
The nose is heavy with vanilla, with some dark caramel note beneath. There is also a little toasted wood in the background. Watered, the oak comes through more powerfully, along with some hints of over ripened oranges.
In the mouth it's rich toffee with a woody spice edge. Over time, touches of dried orange peel come through too, feeding into a long, peppery finish.
With water the richness remains, but it's less sticky sweet. The spices fade too, and although it becomes fantastically drinkable, it loses much of its depth.
This is an interesting dram, but it's lacking a little wow factor; 3 stars.
Many thanks to Master of Malt for providing their excellent Bourbon Advent Calendar this year.
This review was originally published 18th December, 2015. It was last updated 1st June, 2023.