glencairn-amazonThis review was originally published as part of our Budget Bourbon Battle Royale.  The original post can be found here.

Bourbon drinkers know what they like, and bourbon drinkers like Evan Williams.  This standard Black Label offering is second only to standard Jim Beam in global sales.  Previously, Evan Williams carried a 7 year age statement.  Recently, to meet growing demand, that age statement has been dropped.  I understand this bourbon is aged between 5 and 7 years now, and it is  86 proof.  There is a White Label Bottled-in-Bond version available on-the-cheap as well, at 100 proof, but this review covers the lower proof version.

Evan Willims BLACK

  • Appearance: Medium Amber.
  • Nose: Caramel, vanilla, Leather, Oak.
  • Taste: Caramel hits the tip of the tongue, and it develops into further flavors of toffee, vanilla bean, and caramel corn throughout.  Oak makes an appearance n the back of the tongue, with only a light alcohol burn.
  • Finish: Medium, somewhat dry, but the caramel lingers with tannins from the barrel showing through at the end along with the slightest hint of peppermint.
  • Score: 82/100.  Recommended.

This is the second-best selling bourbon in the world for a reason, it seems.  It’s sweet, smooth, and packed with flavor- especially so for an 86 proof whiskey.  However, I felt like the finish left me wanting just a bit more.  It lacked punch and bite.  While that’s likely due to the lower proof, it still can’t be brushed aside.  I am looking forward to sampling the White Label (100 Proof Bottled-in-Bond) version of this very soon, and I have a feeling the extra oomph from the higher alcohol content might be a difference maker.   But don’t sleep on black label Evan Williams.  If lower proof is your thing, give it a shot.

The scoring system is a standard 100 point system based on 4 categories, taken in order.

  1. Appearance: 15 points
  2. Nose: 25 Points
  3. Palate/Taste: 35 Points
  4. Finish: 25 points
  • 95+        Epic
  • 90-94     Excellent, Good representative of its style
  • 85-89     Solid sipper
  • 80-84     Drinkable, but potentially flawed.
  • 75-79     Low quality, flawed, use as a mixer only
  • <75        Rot Gut, avoid