Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch
Evan Williams has several entry-level expressions, including Evan Williams Black, Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond (one of the best bargains available), and this – Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch. According to the Evan Williams website, this is a small-batch product where fully matured barrels of the Evan Williams namesake are blended together (in batches of less than 200 barrels) to create just the right taste, making it a true small batch bourbon.
While Elijah Craig is thought of as the “inventor” of bourbon, the Evan Williams line pays homage to the individual recognized as its first bourbon distiller. Williams left his native Wales, England and settled near Louisville, Kentucky. His first distilling season was 1783 – hence the origination of this small batch brand.
The Evan Williams line shares a common mash bill of 78% corn, 10% rye, and 12% malted barley. Similar to Evan Williams Black Label, there is no age statement on the label, and both are bottled at 86 proof.
Color: Amber. No discernible difference in color when compared to Evan Williams Black Label.
Nose: Caramel and vanilla with some warm honey drizzled sweet, dark fruits. The nose is more layered here when compared to Evan Williams Black Label, which carries some caramel and vanilla, but also some corn-forward notes. Overall, I like nose on the 1783 better.
Palate: Smooth. There is some oak and pepper spice that arrives within a few seconds. It’s a little thin on the mouthfeel, but I wasn’t expecting a lot of chew. With Evan Williams Black Label, I catch similar characteristics, but also some background peanut notes.
Finish: Medium-long with some light vanilla notes followed quickly with pepper spice. It’s a longer finish than its Black Label sibling,
Overall: While I enjoyed this Evan Williams expression, where does it line-up in the bourbon-alpha equation – meaning “what’s the bang for the buck”?
Evan Williams Black Label will always be my anchor, upon which to base many entry-level and craft bourbons. “Until it can beat Evan Williams Black” has served as a divining rod for some youthful upstarts. Price points for the Evan Williams entry-level line-up of Black-Label, Bottled-in-Bond, and 1783 Small Batch are $14, $17, and $20 respectively – all extremely affordable.
Does 1783 Small Batch beat Black Label? Yes. It is better product, with slightly more layered flavor notes and a longer finish. Does it beat Bottled-in-Bond? Hmmm. We have to wait on that one as I didn’t have a bottle handy. That’s going to be a tight showing, especially with my solid thoughts on the Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond rendition.
Overall, 1783 is a nice, everyday pour. There’s nothing fancy – but then again, I wouldn’t expect more. It’s an easy upsell from traditional Evan Williams Black Label and won’t leave a hole in your wallet. Is it better than Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond? We’ll have to see about that. Like they say in baseball, Wait ‘till next time.