Evan Williams, Black Label

Evan Williams
This may be one of the most pointless reviews I’ve yet posted (and that’s saying a lot). Everyone who drinks American whiskey knows that the regular Evan Williams, the one with the black label (it’s not actually called Evan Williams Black Label) is one of the great values in bourbon. Indeed, I am tempted to say (and probably have said in the past) that it may be the single best value in the entire whisky/whiskey world. It is a bourbon that contains all the quintessential characteristics of the category; it’s not going to provide the best example of any of those individual characteristics but it takes nothing off the table. You can reach for it any night that you want to drink some bourbon and not be disappointed. And you can get a liter bottle in most stores for just about what you’ll pay for a 1.5 oz pour of many equally ordinary but far less balanced single malts at bars. This is an everyday drinker that you can stock for less discriminating guests without any sense of shame and that you can drink happily alongside them. 

Evan Williams, Black Label (43%; from my own bottle)

Nose: Caramel, caramel-corn, and then a sour-spicy bite (cinnamon, oak). No change worth remarking with a drop or two of water.

Palate: Pretty much as indicated by the nose, in pretty much the same order. Sweeter here and then also spicier and oakier heading into the finish. A little more mentholated too. The mouthfeel is quite thin. Maybe a bit spicier with water.

Finish: Medium. The spicy notes are to the fore; despite the rising oak on the palate it’s not tannic on the finish.

Comments: A very solid, drinkable bourbon which is a handy answer to the question “what is bourbon supposed to taste like?” It’s not going to rock your world and there’s no complexity here to speak of, but you’re never going to be unhappy drinking Evan Williams, Black Label. And it’s a good cooking bourbon too!

Rating: 80 points.

5 thoughts on “Evan Williams, Black Label

    • Since becoming interested in bourbon, I’ve been spoiled by Heaven Hill’s bottom shelf offereings in the form of Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond 4 year old and Old Ezra 101 7 year old. Both are three to five dollars more than black label and worth every penny.

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  1. I tried it in a bar a couple of years ago and really liked it: great nose and pleasant aftertaste. My sister got me the Single Barrel for Christmas, but I have to admit I enjoyed the Black Label more. Here in the UK I could order it online, but I’ve seen it going for £23.75 (plus postage), which I’m sure is a lot more than it would be going for in the US – if I ever cross the pond I’ll certainly get a bottle.

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