Amidst the big news of the week, here's a small story that shouldn't be overlooked. The new edition of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage, barreled in 2004, is rolling out to stores now. (As you can see from the picture above, my bottle arrived not a moment too soon.) This is, of course, an annual event and has been for almost 20 years. What is remarkable about it is the suggested retail price: $26.99 for a 750ml bottle.
It is no secret that whiskey of all kinds has been booming lately and since the supply is always limited because of aging cycles, rising prices are inevitable. We've also seen proof cuts and the elimination of age statements from many products, primarily those in the lower price classes. Not so Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage (EWSBV). It is still 43.3% ABV (86.6° proof), still 9-10 years old, still widely available, and still a great value.
Standard Evan Williams black label is Heaven Hill's flagship bourbon and its single barrel iteration is the flagship of Heaven Hill's super premium portfolio, but while the once $40 Elijah Craig 18-year-old has morphed into the limited edition Elijah Craig 21-year-old at $120 a bottle, EWSBV remains in the under $30 sweet spot.
Although it is an annual release, EWSBV is not a limited edition. Although it is conceivable that they could run out of suitable stock, it hasn't happened yet. Heaven Hill bottles it throughout the year as orders come in, until the decision is made sometime in late fall to switch over to the next vintage.
Every distillery has a calling card product, one that is arguably the epitome of that distillery's style, and represents the finest effort of that distillery's master distiller. It's very much a personal choice. In the case of father-son team Parker Beam and Craig Beam, higher warehouse locations that are subject to more extreme temperature gradients produce the more robust whiskey they prefer.
All for just $26.99.