Full Review

Evan Williams

Evan Williams
Black Label Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Category: Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Date Tasted:
Country: USA
Alcohol: 43%
93 Points
Gold Medal
Exceptional
$14
Best Buy

Evan Williams
Black Label Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Category: Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Date Tasted:
Country: USA
Alcohol: 43%
Amber color. Aromas and flavors of peppered and fried cornbread, clove, brown butter, carrot cake, and corn pops with a satiny, soft, dry medium body and a tingling, medium-length finish with overtones of sweet corn and hot oil, pepper, and citrus. Straight forward, good quality, corn-pronounced Whiskey.

Tasting Info

Spirits Glass Style: Juicy & Smooth
Aroma Aroma: peppered and fried cornbread, clove, brown butter, carrot cake, and corn pops
Taste Flavor: Same as aromas with overtones of sweet corn and hot oil, pepper, and citrus
Smoothness Smoothness: Tingling
Enjoy Enjoy: in cocktails, neat, on the rocks and with cigars
Cocktail Cocktails: Sazerac, Old Fashioned, Manhattan
Bottom Line Bottom Line: Straight forward, good quality, corn-pronounced Whiskey.

The Producer or Importer

Heaven Hill Brands

The Producer or  Importer
4500 Bowling Boulevard
Ste 300
Louisville, KY 40207
USA
1 502-348-3921

Their Portfolio

85 Admiral Nelson’s Spiced Rum 35% (USA) $9.00.
87 Admiral Nelson’s Coconut Rum 21% (USA) $9.00.
BR Admiral Nelson’s Pineapple Rum 35% (USA) $9.00. - Bronze Medal
93 Bernheim 7 Year Old Small Batch Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey 45% (USA) $29.00.
BR Blackheart Spiced Rum 46.5% (USA) $14.00. - Bronze Medal
BR Blackheart Toasted Coconut Spiced Rum 46.5% (USA) $14.00. - Bronze Medal
90 Burnett’s 80 Proof Vodka 40% (USA) $9.00.
BR Carolans Irish Cream Liqueur 17% (Ireland) $14.00. - Bronze Medal
86 Carolans Cold Brew Cream Liqueur 17% (Ireland) $14.00.
86 Carolans Salted Caramel Cream Liqueur 17% (Ireland) $14.00.
87 CHRISTIAN BROTHERS VS Aged Brandy 40% (USA) $12.00.
88 CHRISTIAN BROTHERS VSOP Aged Brandy 40% (USA) $14.00.
BR CHRISTIAN BROTHERS Honey Flavored Aged Brandy 35% (USA) $9.00. - Bronze Medal
91 CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 4 Year Old Sacred Bond Aged Brandy 50% (USA) $17.00.
87 Deep Eddy Lemon Flavored Vodka 35% (USA) $17.00.
87 Deep Eddy Original Vodka 40% (USA) $17.00.
89 Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit Flavored Vodka 35% (USA) $17.00.
BR Deep Eddy Lime Flavored Vodka 35% (USA) $17.00. - Bronze Medal
91 Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka and Soda 4.5% (USA) $.00.
86 Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka and Soda 4.5% (USA) $.00.
88 Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur 28% (France) $34.00.
94 Dubbonnet Rouge Wine Aperitif 19% (USA) $17.00.
95 Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 60.5% (USA) $59.00.
94 Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Rye Whisky 47% (USA) $29.00.
93 Elijah Craig Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 47% (USA) $29.00.
94 Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 47% (USA) $29.00.
87 Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch Straight Bourbon Whiskey 45% (USA) $19.00.
90 Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey 50% (USA) $17.00.
94 Evan Williams 2013 Single Barrel Straight Bourbon Whiskey 43.3% (USA) $29.00.
94 Evan Williams 1783 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 45% (USA) $19.00.
86 Evan Williams Apple Flavored Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 32.5% (USA) $14.00.
93 Evan Williams 4 Year Old Bottled-In-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey 50% (USA) $17.00.
93 Evan Williams Black Label Straight Bourbon Whiskey 43% (USA) $14.00.
87 Evan Williams Peach Flavored Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 32.5% (USA) $14.00.
86 Evan Williams Honey Flavored Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 32.5% (USA) $14.00.
92 Evan Williams Vintage 2014 Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 43.3% (USA) $29.00.
94 Evan Williams Egg Nog Cream Liqueur 15% (USA) $10.00.
96 Heaven Hill 7 Year Bottled-In-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 50% (USA) $39.00.
92 Henry Mckenna 10 Year Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 50% (USA) $49.00.
85 Irish Mist Honey Liqueur 35% (Ireland) $29.00.
88 Larceny Straight Bourbon Whiskey 46% (USA) $24.00.
93 Larceny Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 46% (USA) $24.00.
97 Larceny Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 61.9% (USA) $49.00.
96 Larceny Barrel Proof Batch No. C922 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 63.3% (USA) $59.00.
88 Lunazul Añejo Tequila 40% (Mexico) $22.00.
89 Lunazul Blanco Tequila 40% (Mexico) $19.00.
86 Lunazul Primero Añejo Cristalino Tequila 40% (Mexico) $29.00.
88 Lunazul Reposado Tequila 40% (Mexico) $19.00.
85 Lunazul El Humoso Smoked Blanco Tequila 40% (Mexico) $29.00.
96 Old Fitzgerald Spring 2022 17 Year Old Bottled-In-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 50% (USA) $230.00.
93 PAMA Fruit Liqueur 17% (USA) $24.00.
95 Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey 55% (USA) $49.00.
95 Rittenhouse Bottled-In-Bond Straight Rye Whiskey 50% (USA) $27.00.

Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Spirits Glass Glencairn Canadian Amber.jpg
Serve in a Glencairn Ganadian Whisky Glass
Bourbon Whisky must contain a minimum of 51% corn, be produced in the United States, be distilled at less than 80% ABV (160 proof) and be aged in new charred oak barrels; 'straight' bourbon must be aged for a minimum of two years, although in practice virtually all straight whiskies are aged at least four years. Any bourbon, or any other domestic or imported whiskey, for that matter, that has been aged less than four years must contain an age statement on the label. Small Batch Bourbons are bourbons that bottled from a small group of specially selected barrels that are blended together. It should be noted though that each distiller has their own interpretation of what constitutes a "small batch." Single Barrel Bourbon is bourbon from one specifically chosen cask.

The Taste: Flavor descriptors such as toffee, pralines, vanilla, and dried fruit to describe the initial rush of flavors in a good, well-aged bourbon. The charred oak barrels give bourbon a distinctive spicy oak firmness that is unique to American whiskeys.

The first waves of British settlers in North America were a thirsty lot. It is recorded that the Pilgrims chose to make final landfall at Plymouth, Massachusetts, even though their original destination was elsewhere, primarily because they were almost out of beer.

The first locally-made alcoholic beverage was beer, although the limited supply of barley malt was frequently supplemented by such local substitutes as pumpkin pulp. Distilled spirits soon followed, with rum made from imported Caribbean molasses dominating in the northern colonies, and an assortment of fruit brandies in the south.

In the early 1700s a combination of bad economic times and religious unrest against the Established Church in Great Britain set off a great wave of emigration from Scotland and Ireland. These Scots, and the Protestant Scottish settlers from the Northern Irish province of Ulster who came to be known as the "Scotch-Irish" in the new World, brought to North America their religion, their distrust of government control, and their skill at distilling whiskey.

This rush of humanity, augmented by German immigrants of a similar religious and cultural persuasion, passed through the seaboard colonies and settled initially in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and western Virginia. Mostly small farmers, they quickly adapted to growing rye because of its hardiness, and, in the western counties, Native American corn because of its high yields. Grain was awkward to ship to East Coast markets because of the poor roads; so many farmers turned to distilling their crops into whiskey. In Pennsylvania these were primarily Rye whiskies; farther to the west and south Corn whiskies predominated. By the end of the American War of Independence in 1784, the first commercial distilleries had been established in what was then the western Virginia county of Kentucky. From the start they produced corn-based whiskies.

In 1794 the new, cash-strapped Federal government imposed the first federal excise tax on distillers. The farmer-distillers of western Pennsylvania responded violently in what became known as the Whiskey Rebellion. Federal tax agents were assaulted and killed by angry mobs. Order was finally restored when the federal government sent in an army of 15,000 militiamen, led by George Washington, to put down the revolt. The ringleaders were convicted and sentenced to be hanged, but cooler heads prevailed, and after jail time they were pardoned and released.

This situation did provoke a new migration of settlers into the then-western frontier lands of Kentucky and Tennessee. In these new states farmers found ideal corn-growing country and smooth, limestone-filtered water—two of the basic ingredients of bourbon whiskey.

The name "bourbon" comes from a county in eastern Kentucky, which in turn was named for the bourbon kings of France who had aided the American rebels in the Revolutionary War. bourbon County was in the early 19th century a center of whiskey production and transshipping (ironically, at the present time, it is a "dry" county). The local whiskey, made primarily from corn, soon gained a reputation for being particularly smooth because the local distillers aged their products in charred oak casks. The adoption of the "sour mash" grain conversion technique served to further distinguish bourbon from other whiskey styles.

By the 1840s bourbon was recognized and marketed as a distinctive American style of whiskey, although not as a regionally specific spirit. bourbon came to be produced in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia, among other states. The only legal location requirement for calling a whiskey "bourbon" is that it be produced in the United States. Initially bourbon was made in pot stills, but as the century progressed the new column still technology was increasingly adopted. The last old-line pot still plant closed in Pennsylvania in 1992, but the technique was revived in Kentucky in 1995 when the historic Labrot & Graham Distillery was renovated and reopened with a set of new, Scottish-built copper pot stills.

The late 19th century saw the rise of the Temperance Movement, a social phenomenon driven by a potent combination of religious and women’s groups. Temperance societies, such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League, operated nationally, but were particularly active in the southern states. The notion of temperance soon gave way to a stated desire for outright prohibition, and throughout the rest of the century an assortment of states and counties adopted prohibition for varying lengths of time and degrees of severity. This muddle of legal restrictions played havoc in the bourbon industry, as it interfered with the production and aging of stocks of whiskey.

National Prohibition in 1919 had effects on the bourbon industry beyond shutting down most of the distilleries. Drinking did not stop, of course, and the United States was soon awash in illegal alcohol, much of it of dubious quality. What did change was the American taste in whiskey. Illicit moonshine and imported Canadian whiskeys were lighter in taste and body than bourbon and Rye. The corresponding increase in popularity of white spirits such as Gin and Vodka further altered the marketplace. When Repeal came in 1933, a number of the old distilleries didn’t reopen, and the industry began a slow consolidation that lasted into the early 1990s, at which time there were only 10 distilleries in Kentucky and two in Tennessee.

In the 21st century consumers have a renewed passion for their local spirit. Today, bourbon is highly sought after by people from all walks of life. Perceived shortages have raised prices and created scarcity that has piqued the interest of new enthusiasts and collectors. The recent craft spirits movement has created a boom of production with bourbons now being made all over the country in a wider range of styles than ever before.