1) Evan Williams, Bottled-in-Bond (white label)
2) Heaven Hill, Bottled-in-Bond, 6 years old (white label)
Maker: Heaven Hill, Bardstown/Louisville, Kentucky, USA
1) NAS (4 y/o minimum)
2) 6 y/o
Proof: 100 (50% ABV)
1) Alcohol, roasted corn, caramels
2) Alcohol, basil, toffee, leather, corn tortilla.
On the palate:
1) Medium-bodied. Hot and sweet. Caramel and not much else, but that’s not a terrible thing.
2) Medium-bodied. Butterscotch candy, a bit of oak, peppermint.
1) Alcohol, corn syrup, lingers for a little while and then fades.
2) Heat, a little corn, wood, tarragon.
1) OK. Not good in a whiskey sour. Clashes with the lemon in a very unpleasant way. Does very well in a Manhattan if good bitters and a good vermouth are used. Serviceable in an old fashioned and in Coke.
2) Does well in all applications. The sour has a nice whiskey muddiness but doesn’t clash with the lemon juice. The Manhattan is good, but the herbal notes in the HH throw it slightly off balance. Does very well in an old fashioned and in Coke.
Parting words: These are both excellent value bourbons from, yes you guessed it, Heaven Hill. It’s something of a specialty of theirs. Evan Williams BiB is new to Michigan. I had never tried it before and while it didn’t blow me away it certainly met expectations. As much as I appreciate the higher proof and enjoy the BiB style, I almost think I enjoy the standard Evan Williams a bit more. Seems like it has older whiskey in the mix that the BiB doesn’t because of the requirements for BiBs. At any rate, this is still a good value. Evan Williams BiB is recommended.
The Heaven Hill line is sold primary in the American South, but we do get one wretched expression here in Michigan, the 80 proof Old Heaven Hill (gold label). I wouldn’t use that to clean my drain. Heaven Hill BiB is infinately better. It is in the classic Heaven Hill style. The yeast and corn are the stars here. The yeast provides the trademark mint/eucalyptus (and tarragon and basil to my palate) flavors with the rye riding shortgun. The corn brings the sweet caramel out from the wood. This is not one of the top 5 whiskeys I have ever had, but it stands alongside Very Old Barton BiB one of the best bourbon values, period. To sum up, I will quote my friend and bourbon connoisseur Cliff. Upon tasting Heaven Hill white label at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival last fall he remarked, “This is good bourbon. This is good bourbon. This is solid bourbon!” Heaven Hill BiB, 6 y/o (white label) is highly recommended.