Here we are with the final four years of the EWSB tasting. For me, this kind of confirmed how I already felt about this particular bourbon; it's an average bourbon. I find this somewhat interesting since this is a 10 year old bourbon, I would think the variations from year to year would be more extreme but the reality is, among the dozen or so tasters, this bourbon broke to the middle as an average bourbon.
95-100 A Classic Whiskey
85-89 Good, Clearly above average
74 and below - pass
Year Barreled: 10/18/96
Barrel Number: 723
Bottled on: 11/17/06
Rating and overall impressions: The collective rating for this year was 83.5% which is on the high side of average. One taster stated "The EWSB profile, coupled with the low 86 proof seem to be a very safe, unambitious platform."
"A good bourbon that runs in the middle of the pack"
"This, along with the 1995, is one of the best of them so far"
"Nice average bourbon with no flaws"
"So for this year, looks to be same same"
Year Barreled: 1/16/97
Barrel Number: 556
Bottled on: 6/8/07
Rating and overall impressions: The bell curve on this one was pretty much non-existent. This year EWSB broke high to low with 40% rating is average or above average by an even split and then 60% rating it fair to pass on this one. Comments included:
"Bitter, young tasting, simple"
"Bitter but still thin and watery"
Year Barreled: 11/23/98
Barrel Number: 827
Bottled on: 10/22/08
Rating and overall impressions: Again, this year lacked a curve whatsoever. In fact, two tasters rated this excellent all the way down to two more rating is as a pass. Overall rating for this year was 81.3%, barely making it into average territory.
"Flawed and I question whether this is drinkable. Worst of the tasting…."
"This is nice stuff. I'd buy a handle"
"I think I'm starting to repeat myself….drinkable but nothing exceptional"
"…the best by far for me, dyno!"
Year Barreled: 6/21/99
Barrel Number: 234
Bottled on: 3/9/09
Rating and overall impressions: This final year rated a 82%....I know, shocking! This last couple of years I believe were Jim Beam bourbon although it could have been Brown Forman. Some comments…..
"Apple cider meets lemonade…..mild and satisfying"
"….flat, some heat…pedestrian bourbon flavor"
"…this last of the sampling is my favorite. It is a very pleasant pour…"
"Evan Williams has gotten better over the years"
"….nothing there really to enjoy"
So there you have it. The overall score for all 12 years was an astounding 81.7%. 12 years of single barrel bourbons that in the end break to just average overall. To be honest, I really thought there would be some stars in this line up but guess it wasn't to be. I'll say it again; taste is subjective so if you like this particular bourbon, it's a great value at about $24 a 750ml. For the most part it's simple, unassuming and consistent. Not a resounding thumbs up for the EWSB brand. There were a number of years that rated very high with industry reviewers but here among us mere pedestrians, we gave 66% of the years an average rating. Now that this tasting is done, let's drink something better than average.