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Evan Williams Single Barrel bourbon, 2004 vintage (The Cellars Wine & Spirits pick)

Posted on by Eric Burke

Evan Williams Single Barrel has a special place in my heart. It was one of the first souvenir bottles I picked up on my first trip to Kentucky. And by souvenir, I mean I payed too much for it in a gift shop because it had the distiller’s signature on it.

It’s not like it was anything special, but it seemed it at the time. I was actually quite excited by it. In a way I feel a little silly about that now. Some dude scrawls his name on a bottle and I was one of the people dumb enough to pay extra for it. And while I wouldn’t probably do that now, it does still sit on display in my office so maybe the extra price was worth it. I’ve paid a lot more for dumber things to sit on a shelf and collect dust. 

I enjoyed that first bottle and and have been going back every year since. As my palate has become more experienced, I’ve noticed that I like these bourbons less and less. I really liked 2001. 2002 was ok, a bit meh. 2003 I didn’t particularly care for. A solid meh (and I tried two bottles of that one). I’m not sure if I’ve changed or if they’ve gotten worse. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that any of these are bad bourbon. They are good, not great. Average and uninteresting. I still buy them every year. It’s not like $25 is a bad price, even for average bourbon. 

So my interest was peaked when I walked into a new liquor store here in the south Metro and noticed that they had their own pick of the 2004 vintage. I hadn’t had the regular release of the 2004 so I picked it up. My hope is that being a store pick, it might be a little more interesting than the regular release once I get around to buying that. 

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2004 (Cellars Wine and Spirits)

Purchase info: $23.99 at Cellars Wine and Spirits, Eagan, MN

Details: Barrel # 229, barreled on 4/6/04, bottled on 2/4/14. 43.3% ABV

Nose: Honeydew melon and wet rock.

Mouth: Baking spices, grasses and a hint of the melon from the nose

Finish: short with just a hint of a burn

Thoughts: This was certainly interesting. I’ve never gotten melon from a bourbon before. But in the end this is another good, not great Evan Williams Single Barrel. I’m not wowed, but then I didn’t really expect to be.

I don’t know how representative this is of the 2004 release but, considering the price, I could be convinced to recommend picking up a bottle.