Evan Williams Single Barrel
The pour and appearence in the glass are unremarkable, just basic bourbon, with a good coating of the glass. In the nose, it's well balanced and mellow, with hints of vanilla, leather, and a touch of hay. At first taste, I feel this one forward on the pallete, as with most bourbons, and as it lingers the taste gently spreads out. There's also pleasant warmth and light leather taste at the back of the pallate. Overall, there is a relatively light mouthfeel with a really remarkable smoothness. Not as "hot" as some bourbons, and not very much rye in the mash, I suspect. The primary tastes are very well balanced and complimentary, I get the aforementioned vanilla, leather, and fresh hay flavors, along with a little bit of oak. The latter taste is especially noticable in the finish.
Overall, I'd rate this as a very mellow bourbon, that is great for sipping. It's lovely to sip neat, and I couldn't bring myself to adulterate it with water or ice. Personally, I'd wish it was just a bit more intense--I think a cask strength version would be really amazing. If it's this smooth watered to 86 proof, I feel like it could stand up very well at barrel proof to an experienced drinker. As it is, it might be a good bourbon to start with--it has all the hallmarks of a great bourbon, and is very approachable. To some, who crave balance, smoothness, and mellow tones, this might be one of the nicest bourbons available. I personally like my whiskey a little more intense (I'm a lover of Islay Scotch, along with Bookers, if that gives any insight in to my tastes), but I'm very happy to drink this. Especially considering the price--I find this superior to the Beam Black, and it's generally about the same price. Of course, keep in mind this is a single barrel whiskey and subject to some variance, this particular batch (Barrel no. 752) may just be a little different than another barrel. To my mind, there comes a point in evaluating a whiskey where there ceases to be "good" or "bad" and only "different." This bourbon is different from some of the other major players in bourbon (Buffalo Trace, Beam brands, et cetera), but whether or not you like it more, or less, is up to your individual preferences.