Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Single Barrel Vintage 2004
Barreled on 8-18-04
Barrel No. 340
Bottled on 2-21-14
$20 to $27
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