Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Evan Williams Single Barrel 12 Year Vertical - Second 4 years

This next set of bourbons really didn't fare any better than the first four years. For reference, I'll be using the same rating scale

95-100 A Classic Whiskey

90-94 Excellent

85-89 Good, Clearly above average

80-84 Average

75-79 Fair

74 and below - pass

Year: 1992

Barreled on 7/22/92
Barrel # 220
Bottled on 6/17/02

This year was not a favorite by a long shot. Average score was only 79.8% and the dominant feedback on the 1992 was "ethanol", "medicinal", "funk" and "bitter". Not a good list of descriptors for any whiskey. The '92 release was named "Spirit of the year" by Food and Wine Magazine and Wine Enthusiast named it "Best Bottling". Moving on.

Year: 1993

Barreled on 12/13/93
Barrel # 449
Bottled on 11/24/03

The 1993 was a step in the right direction with an average score of 82.1%. I liked this one at first but then the finish ruined it for me knocking my score down to an 80 (low end of average). Feedback included "minty" (a HH quality), "oak", "berries", "bitter finish". The 1993 falls right in line with the overall average of the first 4 years. Still waiting for the stand out. Spirit Journal said "SJ Rating * * * * */Highest Recommendation. Next.

Year: 1994

Barreled on: 10/24/94
Barrel No: 464
Bottled on 9/23/04

Ok, now we're headed in the right direction as this year breaks away from the middle with an average score of 85% making this the best of the bunch after 7 years. Feedback on this year included "summer fruit", "vanilla", "menthol", "caramel" and "raisins". The finish was much better on this one than any previous version. Enthusiasts who have enjoyed the EWSB over the years claim 1994 as one of the best. We'll see as we still have the 1995 to talk about.

Year: 1995

Barreled on: 5/19/95
Barrel No: 290
Bottled on: 4/28/05

The last of the second bunch, this year scored just under the 1994 with an average of 84.7%. For me, this one exhibited great potential but still fell a little flat about mid palate. Not totally disappointing but wish there was more of the good qualities that popped out. Some feedback included "vanilla custard", " vanilla bean ice cream", "sweet citrus", "burnt sugar and spice". Everyone agreed this was a good bourbon but just not as good as the 1994.

We have 4 more years to review so I'm still holding out for one bottle to break out as a classic single barrel. These first eight years are all pre-fire distillate. Only the 1996 remains as pre-fire. From 1997 through 1999 they are post-fire and include bourbon from Jim Beam and Brown Forman. We'll see what shakes out. Overall, this second bunch only scored .5% higher than the first batch with an overall average of 82.9%.


  1. Again, this is fascinating stuff. 1994 is one of my faves for sure. But you know, our memories have a way of elevating things sometimes. Looking forward to your continuation of this. Great stuff!

  2. Greg, has this entry been removed, I can't seem to view it.

  3. Jason - It almost appears as if EWSB shoots for the middle by design. One participant in the tasting made the comment that it's possible the profile is supposed to shoot for the middle in order to attract the casual buyer. I'm almost in agreement at this point since the overall rating over 8 years has been average.

  4. Strange - I can view the post in Firefox but not IE. I'll troubleshoot when I get home.