Evan Williams Single Barrel 2004

Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Single Barrel Vintage 2004

Barreled on 8-18-04
Barrel No. 340
Bottled on 2-21-14
43.3% ABV
$20 to $27
Website
evan-williams-single-barrel-2004

What the Distillery Says:
The latest vintage of the highly anticipated Evan Williams Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the 2004 edition, is now shipping to select retailers and on premise operators nationwide.
Heaven Hill Distilleries, the nation’s largest family-owned and operated independent spirits producer and the world’s second-largest holder of aging Bourbon, annually releases the newest edition in the series that goes back 19 years and has in that time become one of the most highly anticipated American Whiskey releases of the year.

The world-renowned Single Barrel Bourbon has garnered many prestigious awards since it was introduced in 1994. These include “Spirit of the Year – American Whiskey” from Food & Wine Magazine; “Domestic Whiskey of the Year” from Whisky Advocate; and “Whiskey of the Year” from The Spirit Journal, the first Bourbon upon which the publication bestowed this prestigious title. And just last year, Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon was named to The Spirit Journal “Hall of Fame,” just the eighth spirit to ever receive this honor.

“As many Bourbon fans know, we try to achieve a particular taste or flavor profile with every year’s vintage of Evan Williams Single Barrel, and then we select barrels that fit with that profile,” Heaven Hill’s legendary 6th generation Master Distiller Parker Beam observed. “For this 2004 vintage, we went with a character that is maybe a bit more assertive and bold than in years past, as consumer tastes seem to be leaning more toward robust whiskeys. We therefore have selected barrels that sit a bit higher up in the warehouses where the temperature gradients over the 9 or 10 years of aging were a bit more extreme.”

As with the previous 18 vintages, many of which are now highly sought after collector’s items, each bottle of the 2004 edition of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon is marked with the exact date that it was placed in oak and bottled, in addition to the exact serial number of the single barrel from which it was drawn.

The 86.6 proof Bourbon is matured in natural open-rick warehouses under the careful supervision of Heaven Hill’s Master Distillers, who monitor the progress of each year’s vintage to ensure it maintains its intended flavor profile and superb quality.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Cinnamon, burnt sugar, and a mildly astringent vanilla.
Palate: Slightly more aggressive on the tongue than last year’s release. More pepper with rye spice, ginger, cornbread, and a stewed fruit flavor.
Finish: Leather, wood, and a bit of astringent pepper.
Comments: I’m not liking this 2004 as much as the 2003. These releases usually are very easy to drink but this one seems to be trying to muscle up a bit. It’s still a fine bourbon but I like the previous releases we’ve reviewed here a bit better.

On a side note. This particular bottle was a mother#%$&er to open. It seems the sealing wax is getting thicker as the vintages roll on. I appreciated the aesthetic of the wax but like real corks…it’s a pain in the ass.
Rating: Stands Out, Great Value

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2003

Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Single Barrel Vintage 2003

Barreled on 3-31-03
Barrel No. 486
Bottled on 5-23-13
43.3% ABV
$20 to $27
Website
EW2003

What the Distillery Says:
The world-renowned Single Barrel Bourbon from 6th and 7th generation father and son Master Distillers Parker and Craig Beam has garnered many prestigious awards since it was introduced in 1994. These include “Spirit of the Year – American Whiskey” from Food & Wine Magazine; “Domestic Whiskey of the Year” from Whisky Advocate; and “Whiskey of the Year” from The Spirit Journal, the first Bourbon upon which the publication has bestowed this prestigious title.

“Even though the mashbill—the grain recipe—is the same from year to year, we try to achieve a particular flavor profile with each vintage,” noted Parker Beam. “As this is our 18th vintage in the Evan Williams Single Barrel series, we feel like we have got the process of determining the taste profile and finding barrels that meet that profile pretty much perfected. This vintage is maybe a bit softer, with barrels drawn mostly from the middle floors of three of our best ventilated rickhouses.”

As with the previous 17 vintages, which are now highly sought after collector’s items, each bottle of the 2003 edition of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon is marked with the exact date that it was placed in oak and bottled, in addition to the exact serial number of the single barrel from which it was drawn.

The 86.6 proof Bourbon is matured in natural open-rick warehouses under the careful supervision of Heaven Hill’s father and son Master Distillers, who monitor the progress of each year’s vintage to ensure it maintains its intended flavor profile and superb quality.

What Richard Says:
Nose: A slight smokiness floats in over the stone fruits and vanilla.
Palate: Light and ridiculously easy to drink. A little spice pinches around the edges but mostly its a nice mellow vanilla and toffee sweetness. Honey, mint, and something that reminds me of store bought pina colada mix show up as you give it time to roll around on the tongue.
Finish: Mild and of medium length, the finish leaves wood to the side and slowly fades out on cinnamon, vanilla, mint.
Comments: If you’re a long time reader or just someone who took a look at our review archive you can see we’ve been reviewing these annual releases for years. I don’t have much to say about this release that I haven’t said of previous releases. In a nut shell, it’s a great buy and you can’t go wrong so pick one up.
Rating: Stands Out, Great Value

Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond

Heaven Hill Old Style Bourbon Bottled in Bond, 6 Years Old
Kentucky Straight Bourbon WHiskey

50% ABV
$12
HEAVENHILL6YR100_lg

What Richard Says:
Nose: Slightly alcoholic opening up to sweet caramel covering vanilla pudding before easing into a nice honeysuckle.
Palate: Creamy with more vanilla and caramel sweetness with just a hint of leather and black pepper. Very easy to drink.
Finish: A like hot at first and then it smooths out to a little woodiness and a good dose of black pepper and cinnamon.
Comments: No “the distillery says” section you ask? Well, that’s because they don’t say much of anything. Even in this day and age you’d be hard pressed to find a website from Heaven Hill featuring or even mentioning this version. It’s an old one that’s been around a while. It doesn’t get a lot of press but like the Very Old Barton Bottled in Bond we just reviewed this is an often overlooked very solid bourbon at a ridiculously good price. It’s not going to rock your world but for $12 you can sit back and enjoy good drink while all the Johnny-come-lately’s are paying $500 for a bottle of Van Winkle 10 year old.
Rating: Stands Out, Great Value

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Event Notice: George Dickel Tasting @ Mac McGee

George Dickel Tasting

Tuesday 22nd July @ 7.30 p.m.

Master of Whiskey Kevin Mulcahy will conduct a tasting from the George Dickel collection on Tuesday July 22nd at 7.30 p.m.

We’ll be tasting Dickel #1, Dickel #8, Dickel #12, the George Dickel Barrel Select and the George Dickel Rye.

If interested, please reply to this email or give us a call at the pub – our phone number is 404 377 8055. The cost for the tasting will be $27.

RSVP: macmcgees@gmail.com

Very Old Barton BIB

Very Old Barton Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Bottled in Bond
50% ABV
$12-$15
Website
vob-bib
What the Distillery Says:
Very Old Barton has been carefully distilled and aged for generations in Bardstown, Kentucky. This classic bourbon whiskey has a bold and rich taste that goes down smooth, just as it has for decades.

The opening sip rushes opulent flavors of vanilla bean, exotic close and worn leather over the tongue. As the experience progresses, the shear mass of this whiskey is realized. The velvety body flows through the pallet leaving a trail of royal splendor. The finish is as decadent as the beginning.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Vanilla, caramel, cornbread, cinnamon, and clove.
Palate: Burnt caramel syrup, black pepper, polish wood, oiled leather.
Finish: A little rough around the edges at first but it settles into a mellow oakiness.
Comments: You’ll notice from the photo that this is “Aged 6 Years”. You won’t find that anymore. Instead you’ll find a “6″ on the neck in conspicuously the same place. Sazerac owns Barton and it’s brands along with Buffalo Trace. In recent years they keep touting their inventory shortages. I can understand that. Demand for bourbon keeps rising. But what I don’t understand is how the company is handling that. Several of their lowered priced brands have seen their age statements disappear to “allow them the flexibility to bottle the bourbon when it’s ready not when it hits a certain age.” Fair enough, but what isn’t fair is that a number of these bottle still have the number in the same place but without the “aged” and “years” to accompany it. Sazerac says the bourbon in here is still six years old and the taste profile hasn’t changed noticeably to me. However, I do take severe umbrage to leaving the six on there. Sazerac says they did market research and this was the best choice to the consumer but I don’t care. I still think its blatantly dishonest, misleading, and is just another in a series of moves like this by the company. I used to be a Buffalo Trace and Sazerac super fan but the way they are handling their inventory (or profit) problems I find appalling. They still make great whiskey and this is a great bourbon and the price is pretty hard to beat. But integrity is important to me too. It’s up to you to decide how you feel about the labeling (and potential product) changes the company is undergoing.
Rating: Stands Out, Great Value