In my time swimming in bourbon, I've split the multiple labels into three categories. There's the high-end ones--your Van Winkles and Willets and Hudsons and other boutique labels that get the hipsters aflutter. Then you got the mainstream ones: Woodford Reserve, Maker's Mark, Bulleit, Angel's Envy and others that middle-class warriors buy when they want to appear in the know.
And then you have the stuff no one boasts of drinking: Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Cabin Still, Old Crow, and Evan Williams. Of these, Evan Williams is definitely the king of the paupers.
Not just because of its pedigree (the namesake was reputedly one of Kentucky's first distillers) and owner of a black-and-white label as starkly beautiful as Jack Daniel's, but because it's a damn fine bourbon: sweet, spicy, brilliant. And its smarty-art version, the Evan Williams Single-Barrel Bourbon Vintage? Even better.
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Hi-Time, of course, has it, and my Mexiclan gave me a bottle for my bachelor's party, but I was able to truly appreciate it when I visited the Evan Williams Experience in Louisville. It has a light feel due to its 86 proof but starts hot and strong. It settles down into a tangy finish and deserves to be drunk neat--definitely not a mixer. Serve it to your friends, see their initial snicker--then laugh as they drink themselves into a merry stupor.