Piggybacking off my previous article, I’ve decided to take a look at Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond. This is a budget bourbon that performs well above its price point and is a fantastic example of what a value whiskey should be.
First off, what makes a bourbon Bottled-In-Bond? Essentially it means that the whiskey is produced under a strict set of government standards, originally established to ensure a safe product was being produced. The bourbon must be at least 4 years of age, aged in a federally bonded warehouse under government supervision, bottled at 100 proof and be produced at a single distillery within a single distillation season. Only when these conditions have been met can a whiskey be labeled as Bottled-In-Bond.
I’ve read a lot about bourbon in general and what constitutes a quality product. While tastes are definitely subjective, typically you want a bourbon that has a bit of age to it so the barrel can impart some of its natural flavors (lactones for those interested), is above 80 proof (the bare minimum to be considered whiskey) so that it doesn’t taste too “watered down”, has classic bourbon flavors like vanilla, caramel, oak, and brown sugar, and it’s moderately priced. Evan Williams BIB checks all of these boxes. In almost any “Top 10 Budget Bourbons” list you will find this bourbon make the cut and for good reason.
While it’s not the best bourbon I’ve ever had, or the most remarkable, or even all that memorable, it’s a solid bourbon for the price (a whopping $15) and one that I like to keep on hand either for an Old Fashioned or just sipping neat. The nose is very sweet, with hints of vanilla, brown sugar and caramel. There’s a bit of oak hiding in there somewhere, but it’s not easily found. The taste is very much so a continuation of the nose. Sweetness abounds with vanilla, brown sugar and caramel leading the charge while just a sliver of oak brings up the rear along with a bit of peppery spice. The finish is warm, but short, leaving my mouth dry and asking for another sip.
Even though Evan Williams BIB is not a remarkable pour, it still manages to check all the boxes of what a good value bourbon should be. For $15 a bottle, I’d suggest anyone that just wants a solid 100 proof classic bourbon on their shelf to just snag a bottle the next time you’re at your favorite liquor store. It’s readily available in just about every liquor store for now…(I’m looking at you Heaven Hill 6 year BIB) and is a worthy bottle for any bourbon drinker.
What do you think about Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond? Do you keep a bottle on your shelf? Leave a comment below.