Evan WilliamsSingle Barrel KSBW; Old Evan Williams Distillery; Bardstown, KY; $40/btl
Tonight, I sit outside for what will likely be the last time before the nasty Idaho winter crushes all my hopes and dreams. I like few things less than winter. Everything dies, it’s cold and yucky, the ground gets either hard or muddy or both, the sun goes down at, like, two in the afternoon, and winter sports people crowd the roads with their skis and snowmobiles hanging off the back of their cars like trophies.
Since it’s such a nice day, though, I decided to write today’s blog entry from the comfort of the back patio where it is delightfully peaceful. That is, it was, right up until my kid decided she needed to be in the bathroom with the fan on right behind my head. Can you hear me grumble?
Anyway, enough of that nonsense. This a booze blog. No more complaining!
Many, many moons ago I was drinking Jack Daniels as my everyday sipper. Good ol’ Tennessee No. 7! Then one day I accidentally grabbed a bottle of Evan Williams. The bottles are similar and I wasn’t paying attention. By the time I made it home I realized my mistake and wanted to smack myself. But, I didn’t want to drive back to the liquor store to make the exchange, so I just dealt with it.
And do you know how I dealt with it?
A) I cried and threw a tantrum
B) I set the bottle on the shelf and stared at it
C) I drank the stuff
If you answered “C” to the above question, then you’re just the type of person that I want reading my blog. Yep, I drank the stuff, because I am neither a snob nor am I terribly picky (that annoying sound you hear is my wife laughing in the background).
As it turned out, Evan Williams wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was good. Not great, but good. And it was cheaper than Jack Daniels by a few dollars, so I kept buying it from that day forward. My wife learned that I was okay with it, and so she kept buying it for me, too, because she likes to keep me inebriated so I’m easier to control.
Someone else figured out I was drinking Evan Williams and one day a bottle of their Single Barrel KSBW showed up on the dining room table, and to this day I cannot remember where it came from, or who put it there. Either way, it landed there and then promptly went under the house with so many other bottles patiently awaiting the reality of Ken’s Bar.
But, now it's out and my bottle says it was put into an oak barrel sometime on August 31, 2007, which makes it 14 years old as I sip away at it while tapping the keyboard. The bottle also says it was bottled on February 29, 2016, and came from barrel #504. I like that. The whole “custom labeled” thing gives the bottle a little extra character, especially once you realize that the lettering is hand-written. That Evan Williams takes the time to scribble on their bottles makes me think that they might care. And good for them. If you put that kind of effort into the bottle, then you might also put some effort into what’s inside the bottle.
And I’m convinced that they do. This Single Barrel stuff is lusciously smooth (in mouth feel and alcohol) and drinks easy. Its honey-colored and honey-flavored and smacks of caramel candy and charred wood with a touch of cinnamon way back in the back of the mouth. It looks nice, tastes nice, and feels nice.
I think Evan Williams has this sort of “bottom shelf” vibe to it (whereby bottom shelf I’m referring to the world’s definition, not my own). But, their Single Barrel is anything but. To this average, ordinary, everyday Ken it’s a smooth, nice sipper that I can easily enjoy while sitting out back and enjoying the last of the year’s reasonable weather. It actually makes a nice finish to a day of back-breaking chores as I get the place sorted out before the snow starts making a mess of things.
So, to finish things off, my whiskey drinking past is full of accidental treasures, oopses that lead to favorites, and favorites that got supplanted by oopses and accidents. Evan Williams makes a nice whiskey, but heir black-label, traditional fair is easily passed over for bottles found higher up on the shelf, even though they do a nice job. And this Single Barrel stuff is right up there with some of the greats. It’s not very expensive, it’s pretty easy to find, and a treat to sip upon on a beautiful October evening.
Evan Williams Single Barrel KSBW
Who is this guy?
I'm just an average, ordinary, everyday Ken, and nothing more. I like wine, whiskey, and beer. I write when I'm bored (and to prove it I've published three books). I like to garden, work with wood, and laugh with family and friends. Ken's Bar is an expression of my enjoyment of adult beverages of all shapes and sizes, but especially whiskey. My tasting notes are as much about stories and connections with people as they are about fluffy, snobbish adjectives. I've tasted a lot of whiskey (including the costs-way-too-much Rip Van Winkle stuff) and decided to start writing about it. Or something. So, sit back and read. If you can.
How do I rank?
Cost per Bottle:
$ - $0-$25
$$ - $26-$50
$$$ - $51-$75
$$$$ - $76-$100
$$$$$ - Over $100
* - Swill. Dump it out.
** - Mix it with coke
*** - A good sipper
**** - Straight from Heaven.
***** - Heaven called and wants its whiskey back!
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