Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bourbon Bargain Alert - Evan Williams 1783

The boomerang effect: When you share knowledge and have the luck to have knowledge come back to be shared with you.  That's what happened a few weeks ago when I got an email from Dad titled, "Just in case...".  It was a forward from his buddy Denny who had found a new love and that love was Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch Bourbon.  You know, "just in case" I needed to add another bottle to my collection.

Included in the email was a lengthy review of the product with history of the distillery (1783 was the year it was established), tasting notes, and the 10 year length of time that this bourbon has sat in the barrel aging.  It sounded good enough to seek out and try. 

I happened to be headed to Total Wine and Spirits in Fort Lauderdale the day after I received this email.  Lincoln Henderson, Master Distiller for Angel's Envy, was holding a tasting and I thought it would be cool to meet him.  What a great guy.  We chatted for a few and then I headed to the bourbon section to see what else was on the shelf.  It was there that I saw Evan Williams 1783 Number 10 Small Batch Bourbon.

It was also there that I saw the one bit that the review I'd read did not state...

The price was $9.99 for a 750ml bottle!!

Upon returning home, I was eager to give it a shot.  Could a bourbon at this price actually be decent?  I grabbed a glass, twisted off the screw cap (yup, $9.99 doesn't get ya a cork), and poured myself a couple fingers worth.  The nose was oaky with hints of sweetness, vanilla and sweet corn seemed to be what stood out most.  Surprisingly, chocolate appeared when I took the first sip along with some hints of pepper, allspice, and more oak.  The finish had a little spice to it along with some nuttiness but it faded fast and I found it thin and kind of lackluster.  At 86 proof, it was smooth as hell though.  Later in the evening, I made myself an Old Fashioned with this juice and it wasn't great.  Just not enough spice to counterbalance the sweetness of the drink.  Perhaps without muddling a sugar cube and merely adding bitters and an orange rind it would fare better?

I've found myself stepping away from the more expensive bourbons and ryes lately, instead focusing on value in the category.  I'm here to tell ya - there's a lot to be had at under $30 and even under $20.  Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch Bourbon proves that you can still find a decent quality bourbon at a price under $10 too!

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