This is traditional bourbon flavors executed fairly well through good aging management and excellent batching. As a souvenir, it's top notch. As a bourbon, it's a quality product.
Evan Williams Master Distiller’s Select Bourbon
What it is:
This is a special blending of Evan Williams barrels ranging from 7-10 years and bottled at 90 proof. It is available only at the two Heaven Hill gift shops, making it somewhat difficult to find. It differs from the standard Evan Williams in age and batch size, obviously. Exactly how close this is to the new non-age stated Elijah Craig, said to be 8-12 years old and 94 proof remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it’s a very affordable option at a gift shop, which is a rare find. At $20 for a half bottle, this equates to a $40 bourbon. Hats off to Heaven Hill for offering something unique and attainable at their tourist attractions.
Reminiscent of the now-discontinued Evan Williams Barrel Proof, this is packaged in a stoneware jug with traditional Evan Williams logo and a natural cork. It’s topped with a faux tax stamp. All in all, it’s an excellent souvenir bottling, and one that will find a prominent space on a bourbon shelf or home bar as a display piece.
Somewhat lighter in appearance than a typical 7-10 year old bourbon might be, this is a pale golden color when poured into a Glencairn.
Heavy vanilla and caramel greet the nose. This bourbon packs the traditional Evan Williams profile into a concentrated little offering. There is plenty of mature oak and barrel along with hints of peppery rye on the back end.
Sweet and approachable, the vanilla and caramel carry through to the palate with a strong, well-balanced oak undercurrent. There are some ripe fruits on the periphery to enjoy as well.
This lingers fairly long for an extended finish. The oak dominates the experience with peppery spices trailing.
This certainly isn’t a ground-breaking bourbon. Then again, that’s not really what Heaven Hill, and in particular their Evan Williams brand, does. This is traditional bourbon flavors executed fairly well through good aging management and better barrel selection and batching. And it’s very affordable. As a souvenir, it’s top notch. As a bourbon, it’s a quality product.