Evan Williams 12 Year Review

Sunday Evening Review


Not many times do you get a bourbon that’s roots are from outside of the United States. Most bourbon producers will gladly tell you how their start comes from wherever their distillery is located. This bourbon product though was intended from the beginning to be in foreign lands. More on that later but let’s see if this Evan Williams 12 Year bourbon was a gesture of kindness or was it considered an insult to our foreign friends.


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NAME – Evan Williams 12 Year


PROOF – 101


AGE – 12 years old


COLOR – smoked paprika (1.6 mahogany, henna notes on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart)


NOSE – Caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla frosting, apple pie filling, charred oak, tanned leather and cocoa powder.


TASTE – The nose doesn’t lie on this one. You get all that caramel, brown sugar, vanilla frosting, cinnamon and charred oak along with the apple pie filling. The chocolate note may slightly go more to a dark chocolate and the leather is more aged than on the nose.


FINISH – I would call this a medium to long finish. The brown sugar, charred oak and the aged leather stays along with some roasted peanut.


REVIEW – This bourbon gives you everything that made you fall in love with bourbon. There is nothing highly unique about this pour, but it does everything very well and gives you the experience you wish every bourbon you drink would measure up to. Now just because it isn’t unique doesn’t mean it doesn’t stand out. I compare this to a Rolex. There is lots of ways to tell time and many watches made but there is a reason that Rolex is the standard by which timepieces are measures. I would consider this bottle the same.


FINAL COMMENTS – Time to payoff the tease from above. The Evan Williams 12 Year was produced for the purpose of the Japanese market and up to 2013 that was the only place you could find it. The rumor is that it was a product they made exclusive to Japan almost as a thank you for continuing to drink bourbon in the 80’s when the U.S. market almost completely abandoned it. Today the only place in the U.S. to find it is at the Evan Williams Experience in Louisville for $130 at last check. I have heard that in Japan it is a sub-$40 bottle and everywhere. I know there are several here that have connections that make trips to Japan. You do the rest of the math.


One thing with this that throws you right from the beginning on a bottle you paid $130 for is all this gold wax is covering a screw top. Nothing wrong with it and probably preferred for a “special occasion” whiskey. It’s also plastic versus a metal top like Weller, which again I prefer.


Another thing that can clear up a myth that I hear repeated is that it can’t be bourbon if it is charcoaled filtered. Only Tennessee whiskey does that. That is not true as several bourbons charcoal filter (this one included) and is every bit a bourbon. The rule is you can’t ADD anything but water. Charcoal filter just would take away and actually recreates what happens inside the barrel with the charred oak.

To find out more check it out here – Evan Williams

You can look at all the past Sunday Evenings Reviews and I would still love to hear what your personal reviews are from each of the whiskies reviewed.