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View Full Version : Evan Williams Single Barrel - best vintage?



tango-papa
05-30-2007, 20:22
I would be most appreciative of any input from anyone regarding the question:

What, in your opinion, is the mostest-bestest vintage of Evan Williams Single Barrel and why?

In my somewhat cursory search here at SB.com, it would seem the 1994 vintage might be most often named as the 'one'...

What say All-Y'all? (All-Y'all is the proper Texification of plural references...):lol:

Thanks in advance for any input and opinions given!

~tp

mgilbertva
05-30-2007, 22:04
Nice timing on this one, at least for selfish interests. I've been trolling web sites and tasting notes exploring the same question. So, I'm very interested in what people have to say.

Unfortunately, I've only tried the 1997, which has not gotten good reviews. From what I've read over at bourbonenthusiast.com (http://bourbonenthusiast.com/forum/DBvd.php?id=333&task=displaybottling) , as well as other places, this was actually a Jim Beam product, not Heaven Hill. Does that mean this is a Beam barrel and therefore comparable to other Beam bourbons? Or did they make this to HH's specifications?

While I don't have any notes, and it's been awhile, I remember being quite fond of it. A lighter style bourbon and not especially challenging, but quite pleasant and well-behaved. While it is mild-mannered, I did not find it without a reasonable amount of character given the price ($20). I will definitely invite the '97 back to my house for another visit.

I currently have the 1991, 1995 and 1996 in my bunker.

jwrussell
05-31-2007, 06:20
Glad this was posted, I've been interested in the question myself. From the searches I did here it seemed to me that the 95 got high marks, so this should be interesting.

nickynick
05-31-2007, 06:34
I have only had the 94, 95, and 96 and only own the 95 and 96. I enjoy them both. I'm interested in what other say. The 97 is Beam? So is this the first batch post HH fire?

Rughi
05-31-2007, 07:54
So is this the first batch post HH fire?

This was discussed a few months ago here:
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6861&highlight=Evan
starting with post 2.

Roger

tango-papa
05-31-2007, 15:09
I would be most appreciative of any input from anyone regarding the question:

What, in your opinion, is the mostest-bestest vintage of Evan Williams Single Barrel and why?

In my somewhat cursory search here at SB.com, it would seem the 1994 vintage might be most often named as the 'one'...

What say All-Y'all? (All-Y'all is the proper Texification of plural references...):lol:

Thanks in advance for any input and opinions given!

~tp

Anyone? Bueller?

Gillman
05-31-2007, 16:29
I like the '97.

Gary

RedVette
05-31-2007, 17:51
I have a hard time with "best". I like em all, and have an 89,94,95,and 96 open right now. I finished off the early 90's in my collection and have not been able to replace them. I haven't opened the 97 yet, but will soon. At this time I would not be able to pick a "best".

cowdery
05-31-2007, 19:08
1994 was the best recent vintage, one that is arguably still pretty available.

In 2001, I did a tasting of 1986 through 1992, which was everything made to that point. Of that group I ranked 1990 and 1992 the highest. So I would say 90, 92 and 94 have been the three best, but I would not attempt to rank them among themselves.

Although I usually resist the idea of picking a "best," the way Heaven Hill has run the EWSBV program has made comparison and judging appropriate. It's appropriate because HH has said that they select the best whiskey that's available from the vintage year that also matches the EWSB profile.

Some of the 96 and all of the 97 is whiskey made at Jim Beam and not at DSP-31, but I wouldn't call it a Jim Beam product, as it used Heaven's Hill's yeast and mash bill, and Parker and Craig supervised the production. I would characterize it as Heaven Hill whiskey made at Jim Beam.

Remember too that the Heaven Hill Beams and Jim Beam Beams are fairly close relatives, and have cooperated and worked in each others plants many times in the past.

tango-papa
05-31-2007, 19:45
1994 was the best recent vintage, one that is arguably still pretty available.

In 2001, I did a tasting of 1986 through 1992, which was everything made to that point. Of that group I ranked 1990 and 1992 the highest. So I would say 90, 92 and 94 have been the three best, but I would not attempt to rank them among themselves.

Although I usually resist the idea of picking a "best," the way Heaven Hill has run the EWSBV program has made comparison and judging appropriate. It's appropriate because HH has said that they select the best whiskey that's available from the vintage year that also matches the EWSB profile.

Some of the 96 and all of the 97 is whiskey made at Jim Beam and not at DSP-31, but I wouldn't call it a Jim Beam product, as it used Heaven's Hill's yeast and mash bill, and Parker and Craig supervised the production. I would characterize it as Heaven Hill whiskey made at Jim Beam.

Remember too that the Heaven Hill Beams and Jim Beam Beams are fairly close relatives, and have cooperated and worked in each others plants many times in the past.

Chuck,

Thank you for that very informative reply!
As I'm sure you know, here in the Houston-metro area there are many, many old mom & pop type liquor stores. On my Bourbon-huntin' outings, I see various vintages of the EWSB quite often and just wanted to know if one was 'better' than others so-to-speak. Not interested in 'collecting' all the bottlings, just the 'better' ones.

So, based on the reply's thus far...

Chuck likes the '90, '92 and '94 and I for one, trust his judgement! So, any of these would be good additions to the 'collection' and the highest probability of a 'hit' is the 1994.
RedVette likes all of 'em that he's sampled - Thanks Red!
Gary likes the 1997 - thanks Gary!

Anyone else gonna weigh-in here?
Again, just curious, of the vintages you've had, which did you prefer most and why?

~tp

mgilbertva
05-31-2007, 19:59
As I said above, I enjoyed the '97 very much - it didn't last long. I'm definitely picking up another bottle.

Without trying to find all the links, I had seen several people pan the '92, so I'm surprised to hear it was rated so highly in Chuck's group. Regardless, I'd get it anyway if I could find it...

fussychicken
05-31-2007, 20:14
96 EWSB was the one that got me hooked on liking Bourbon last year. I thought to myself, "all this for $22 when good scotch starts at ~50 a bottle?!?!" (not that I was huge a scotch fan anyway, but I digress...) Since then, I have always kept my eye open for these when hunting. So far I have picked up a couple of 95s, 94s, and I found one 92. I have the 96, 95 and 92 open. Even though I really like the 96, I like the 92 better.

It is somewhat fitting that while the 96 was the one that started me on bourbon, the 92 I found was kind of my first "dusty corner" find. The store had 5 bottles of 96 all lined up. I had just about given up looking at all of them, but for the heck of it, I grabbed the 6th and last bottle in the back and just about dropped it when I saw it was a 92. Ever since then I have been hooked on dusty corner searches. :)

ggilbertva
05-31-2007, 20:22
I must admit, I've not had many of the various years of the EWSB. I purchased my first bottle (that I opened) in March....a 1996. I loved it and it was gone is less than a week (shared by others of course). I now have two more '96's and 2 '97's. My brother has a '91 that he IS going to share with me....

fussychicken
05-31-2007, 20:23
Without trying to find all the links, I had seen several people pan the '92, so I'm surprised to hear it was rated so highly in Chuck's group.

This brings up a question I have been meaning to ask as there seems to be a good deal of variability in the ratings of certain vintages.

Does anyone know if all the barrels pulled for a certain vintage come from the same place in the warehouse? Heck, do they even all come from the same warehouse?

I'm pretty sure that I've read on here that HH tries to keep the taste the same within each vintage year, but I find this pretty amazing when you consider they have to pull 700+ individual barrels! Surely there must be some variation, correct?

TBoner
05-31-2007, 20:52
I have had the 1995, which I found fair. It was a little on the sweet side, and seemed a little light in flavor. There was a good bit of vanilla, not much in the way of spice IIRC. Not something I would drink regularly. The 1992 and 1994 I have sought since reading through old threads and seeing them mentioned consistently as good whiskey. I found a 1992, but no 1994 to this point.

cowdery
06-01-2007, 11:15
This brings up a question I have been meaning to ask as there seems to be a good deal of variability in the ratings of certain vintages.

Does anyone know if all the barrels pulled for a certain vintage come from the same place in the warehouse? Heck, do they even all come from the same warehouse?

I'm pretty sure that I've read on here that HH tries to keep the taste the same within each vintage year, but I find this pretty amazing when you consider they have to pull 700+ individual barrels! Surely there must be some variation, correct?

I think the variability in rating has more to do with variations in what different people like than in variations in the whiskey itself, although between the vintages and it being single barrel there is variation.

Seven-hundred barrels seems like a lot and it is, objectively, but relatively it's not so much. Heaven Hill has nearly a million barrels in storage and dumps close to 200,000 a year.

Barrels for EWSB will all be from the vintage year and spread pretty evenly throughout that year, but they will tend to be drawn from the same or similar warehouse locations, typically the top two floors.

I haven't had any of the "late" 1996 bottlings, which based on the barreled-on dates are post-fire and are, therefore, contain whiskey distilled at Beam. I have had the made-at-Beam 1997 and found it very different from previous years, and not as flavorful, but I'm glad some people like it. I think EWSB has been a great program and a great example for the rest of the industry.

luv2hunt
06-01-2007, 16:21
I have extra bottles of 1990 through 1995 if anyone wants to trade and try 'em.

Dawn

tango-papa
06-01-2007, 21:58
I have extra bottles of 1990 through 1995 if anyone wants to trade and try 'em.

Dawn

Dawn,

Do you have a 'favorite' from the bottlings you have (assuming you've tasted them...) tasted?
Would enjoy hearing your opinion as well.

~tp

luv2hunt
06-02-2007, 12:29
My favorite.....uh.....that would be the 1997 "chunky bottle"......uh......tasted at a recent event. :blush::blush:

The earlier bottles are a bit too "earthy" for me.

Dawn

ThomasH
06-02-2007, 15:21
I bought a EWSB 96 today and the barrel date was 10-13-96, only about 3 weeks before the fire. My daughter was born in 1996 so I tought maybe I would save this one and open it when she gets married!

Thomas

HighTower
06-02-2007, 17:09
I bought a EWSB 96 today and the barrel date was 10-13-96, only about 3 weeks before the fire. My daughter was born in 1996 so I tought maybe I would save this one and open it when she gets married!

Thomas
That's a nice thought, Thomas, another things the dated bottles are good for! From my calculations she's only 11 this year, she's not getting married yet is she??:lol:

Scott

tango-papa
06-02-2007, 17:56
My favorite.....uh.....that would be the 1997 "chunky bottle"......uh......tasted at a recent event. :blush::blush:

The earlier bottles are a bit too "earthy" for me.

Dawn


Chunky bottle?
Ok, I'm officially curious...
Does this mean you got to sample "unfiltered" product?
I really hope, that it wasn't a bottle that had gone bad...:puke:

~tp

ThomasH
06-02-2007, 18:12
My daughter turns 11 on July 31st. I also have a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne that is a 1996 vintage that is also going to get opened when she gets married. Next up, getting the same 2 bottles from the year 2000 for my son. The Dom champagne is up to the 1999 vintage right now. Hopefully they declare a vintage for 2000!

Thomas

jburlowski
06-03-2007, 15:34
Put my vote in the '94 column.

All are good but the 1996 and 1997 were ( modestly and only in comparison) slightly less so.

wku88
06-08-2007, 20:31
I've had the '95 and '96, and prefer the '95. Interestingly, VROHH has continued to taste more like the '95 than the '96. Since they don't put the bottling date on VROHH, I guess I could say it is Beam stuff, but the taste is the same. Or did the Bonded warehouses survive the fire?

cowdery
06-09-2007, 14:35
For all intents and purposes, all warehouses are "bonded." That's not a meaningful distinction anymore.

When a day's production is put away into the warehouses, it is spread around, usually in lots of about 50 barrels each.

Virus_Of_Life
06-10-2007, 18:07
My favorite.....uh.....that would be the 1997 "chunky bottle"......uh......tasted at a recent event. :blush::blush:

Dawn

I'll second that!!! Damn that stuff was good!

cowdery
06-14-2007, 18:19
When I have compared the 1997 to my beloved 1994 side-by-side, the 94 always wins, but when, as I did last night, I just drink the 1997, I think, "damn, this is awfully good."

So I guess what I'm saying is, don't turn your nose up at the '97.

tango-papa
06-15-2007, 19:38
Found and purchased several bottles of 1994 over the past few weeks - thanks to all for the opinions about this one being the "bestest" vintage.
Have only paid between $22-$26 each which is not bad, in my opinion, for such a good bottle.

Also picked up a 1989 today and know where a 1990 bottle is located if anyone needs these for their collection(s).

~tp

jburlowski
06-16-2007, 12:56
When I have compared the 1997 to my beloved 1994 side-by-side, the 94 always wins, but when, as I did last night, I just drink the 1997, I think, "damn, this is awfully good."

So I guess what I'm saying is, don't turn your nose up at the '97.

The '97 is awfully good, certainly better than the '96 or '95. I concur that the '94 is the (current) champ of the series, but all are mighty fine pours.

mgilbertva
06-16-2007, 13:13
Guess I better get some more of the '97, which was most enjoyable.

I bought a bottle when it went on sale at the local Virginia ABC store for under $20. I'm hoping it'll go on sale again next month. If not, well, what's love compared to money?