It’s time for round 9 of the Budget Bourbon Battle Royale!  (Follow this link for previous rounds.)  If you’re not familiar with this series, we’re reviewing bottles that can be had for $20 or less in most areas. Thus far, Old Fitzgerald has fended off several challengers and remains our reigning king of the budget ring.  But it’s about to get nasty.  The long-awaited match  up between fellow Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond bourbon, Evan Williams White label, and our reigning champion, Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond is here.

 Round 6: Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond vs. Evan Williams White Label

To quote the great Michael Buffer:

For the thousands on twitter and the millions of readers around the world, ladies and gentlemen, LLLET’S GET READY TO RUUUUMMMBBBLLLLLLLLEEEE!

 The Challenger: Evan Williams White Label

EW White Label BiB

If you will remember, Evan  Williams Black Label  took on the reigning champ a couple of rounds ago, and gave Old Fitz all it could handle, being edged out by a single point.  Well Even Williams isn’t done yet, and it’s back for more.  This time, it sent its white Label Bottled-in-Bond offering to the ring to do battle.

http://modernthirst.com/2014/06/30/bourbon-review-evan-williams-white-label/
http://modernthirst.com/2014/06/30/bourbon-review-evan-williams-white-label/

The White Label is aged 4 years, and clocks in at 100 proof, as bottled-in-Bond bourbons do.

  • Appearance: Deep amber.
  • Nose: Corn, Bakery Goods, Vanilla
  • Taste: There are some early fruits, including apricot and banana, but they give way to traditional smoother bourbon flavors of vanilla, caramel, maple syrup, and oak.
  • Finish: Surprisingly long and smooth, with black pepper and cloves.
  • Score: 86/100.

The Reigning King of the Ring: Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond  (recap from previous rounds)

Old Fitzgerald Bonded
Old Fitzgerald Bonded

Old Fitzgerald is another venerable bourbon label.  It is currently produced by Heaven Hill at the new Bernheim facility in Louisville.  It’s a Wheated Bourbon, and shares its mash with Larceny and Old Fitzgerald 12 year.  It can be found in 90 proof, or Bottled-in-Bond at 100 Proof.  This review covers the Bottled-in-Bond version.

Appearance: Deep gold.

  • Nose: Bakery goods (wedding cake) and corn sweetness.
  • Taste: Wheat tingle on the tip of the tongue, more white cake, mint, wheat, and maple syrup on the back with cinnamon showing its head on the end.
  • Finish: Medium finish with the sweetness and wheat tingle remaining through the end.
  • Score: 83/100. Recommended.

Synopsis:

The king is dead!  Long live the king!  Finally, Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond has been unseated.  It should be noted that Old Fitz was actually beaten by a fellow bottled-in-bond bourbon from the same distiller.  But this was no fluke.  Evan Williams White Label clearly blurs the line between a budget bourbon and a premium.  In fact, I’d wager that most palates would have a hard time declaring this a budget bourbon at all. It is smooth, flavorful, and worthy of a sip.  At under $15, it may be among the best values in bourbon today.

IMG_20140628_214057

Budget Bourbon Battle Royale Current Standings:

  1. Evan Williams White Label (Bottled-in-Bond)  86
  2. Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond          83
  3. Very Old Barton Bottled-in-Bond       83
  4. Evan Williams (Black Label)             82
  5. Ancient Age 90                             79
  6. Old Grand Dad Bottled-in-Bond         76
  7. Ancient Age 80                                 75
  8. McAffee’s Benchmark Old No. 8       75
  9. Old Crow                                        72
  10. Old Taylor                                       69

The ModernThirst.com 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
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