Whisky Advocate

Review: Evan Williams Single Barrel (2001 release)

January 12th, 2011

Let’s make it five straight American whiskey review posts…

Evan Williams Single Barrel, 2001 Vintage (Barrel #1), 43.3%, $26

While last year’s vintage was a more delicate expression of Evan Williams, I loved it for its elegance, charm, and balance (and gave it a 95 rating). This one is darker in flavor and bolder, with more caramelized sugars (caramel, toffee, maple syrup) along with some underlying fruit. It’s also drier, spicier, and with more wood influence (resin and polished leather). It still maintains its balance on the nose and majority of the palate, but with more wood on the finish than I would prefer to rate it in the 90s. (One more thing to consider: it’s a single barrel bottling and no two barrels are alike.)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 89

18 Responses to “Review: Evan Williams Single Barrel (2001 release)”

  1. Rick Duff says:

    The difference in the 2000 & 2001 sound just like my kids born those years. I have an extra bottle of each put aside for their 21st birthday. I’m anxious to try these. Picked up a couple of bottles in South Carolina over the holidays.. as it wouldn’t hit my home state until May or later.. got an earlier barrel too.. but not #1.. which I may be thankful for.
    Does anyone go to the unveiling party? I always get invited, but it’s always the weekend of our annual long weekend trip to Ontario.

  2. H.Diaz says:

    All the photos have been great and with nice detail, John.

  3. lawschooldrunk says:

    Hmm, heaven hill picks the barrel for this release. why did they pick a less-mellow release? They didn’t have any ready for bottling? I can’t imagine. maybe they were tired of mellow and wanted to mix it up…?

    I’ll just have to look for the 2000 if I get interested in purchasing. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. John Hansell says:

    This is a nice whiskey. An 89 is a great score. I just didn’t like it as much as last year’s bottling. And don’t forget that these are all single barrel bottlings, so your barrel might taste different than mine.

    • lawschooldrunk says:

      I forgot. As you can see, I know far less about bourbon than scotch. 🙁

      That’s one of my resolutions for the new year- learn about, and drink more, bourbon. already bought makers mark and 4 roses small batch. have the w.l. weller 7yo and stagg 2009 open.

    • Scribe says:

      John, your point on slight differences in scores is a good one…truth be told, I’ve never had an Evan Williams I didn’t like. It’s one of the staples in the liquor cabinet!

    • Vince says:

      89 is an excellent score, I loved the 2000 and am looking forward to picking up some of the 2001. As Scribe stated, I have never had an Evan Williams that I didnt like!

  5. Mr Manhattan says:

    I go through a fair amount of bourbon each year (professionally, really) and have have saved a few ounces from each of about a dozen different barrels of the EWSB 2000 release (so far, there’s still plenty on the shelves). I plan on staging a tasting in a couple of months to see just how much variation is detectable. I’ll keep you all posted.

    One other observation: in my part of the country (northern CA) the highest barrel numbers I saw for sale of the 1999 release were in the 500 – 600 range. For 2000 I’m seeing barrel numbers over 1000. Wondering if that’s indicative of the volume of bourbon made in each of those years or just the way the barrels were distributed.


  6. mark davis says:

    I got two or three bottles of 2000 on your recommendation. I have to say either they varied or my taste changed.

    the best bottles were amazing but even the not so great bottles were amazing buys.

  7. Larry Kass says:

    On behalf of Parker and Craig Beam, thanks for the nice comments, John! And thanks to everyone else here for the praise as well…we at Heaven Hill are proud that Evan Single Barrel is and always will be a high quality product for a reasonable price.

    Mr. Manhattan, to answer your query we pulled considerably more barrels for the 2000 vintage than for the 1999, 600 versus about 1100. This had to do with a lot of factors (brand growth, more full barrel sales directly to trade and consumers, early release of the 2000 vintage due to issues with the glass, etc.), but our quality control standards remain just as high. We have over 900,000 barrels aging in 49 (soon to be 51) open rick warehouses, so we have no shortage of “honey barrels” at this or any other age point. Actually, for the first time ever, we at Heaven Hill produced more whiskey than any other American distiller last year. We’re big, but still family owned and run, and with the same distilling family since our founding.

    • Mr Manhattan says:


      Thanks for the information and details on the production of EWSB. I should make it clear that I am a big fan of this product. It’s one of my ‘go to’ bourbons, which is why I’ve been through so many bottles.

      When the time comes for my little tasting experiment, I will be happy to share the results. This will be a double-blind tasting so no one will know which barrels they are trying, not even me.

      Michael Lazar (AKA Mr. Manhattan)

  8. JD says:

    I’d like to echo Mr. Manhattan’s comments about EWSB. The annual Single Barrel offerings are great. You can beat the price–or the quality. Even the regular “black label” Evan Williams is just a great bourbon. As I posted elsewhere, I really like the fact that I can enjoy a truly drinkable bourbon at that price point.

    Congratulations on all your achievements at Heaven Hill this year.

  9. Gary says:

    This is one of my favorite bourbons. I always pick up a couple of bottles of each years release. And the price, as mentioned is quite reasonable in this market.

  10. Ethan Smith says:

    The comments here have convinced me I need to get a bottle of 2000 and a bottle of 2001!

  11. Robo says:

    Picked up a bottle of 2001 (barrel #29) on Saturday. Definitely a more defined wood flavor and nose than the 2000. More bite on the front of the tongue too but the finish is just as smooth. Such an amazing Whiskey for the price. So glad I found your review of this series. Thank you!

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