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Review: Evan Williams “White Label” Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Finding a great whiskey value can feel a little like Christmas morning for me. There’s something wonderful about getting a hold of a whiskey that brings great aroma and flavor at a ridiculous price point. But let’s also be honest. The “bottom shelf” is filled with whiskeys that are overly sweet, syrupy, and flabby. More times than not you end up with something you wish you hadn’t taken home. Hopefully I can help a little bit by weeding through some of that.

The subject of today’s review is Evan Williams “White Label”. It’s a bottled in bond whiskey at 100 proof and 50% alcohol, and costs less than $15. I was able to purchase it around $12.00 in Franklin, TN. Thanks to Greg over at BourbonDork for recommending I give it a try.

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond “White Label” Bourbon, 50% abv (100 Proof), $12.00/bottle
Color: Medium Amber
Nose: Sweet Corn, vanilla custard, and banana dominate with some gentle notes of oak and wood spices.
Palate: At any price this is a well balanced whiskey. Again, sweet flavors of banana, vanilla fudge, and caramel sweetness. The palate, perhaps due to the proof, is a bit warmer and spicier than the nose eluded. From mid palate, cinnamon, clove, and barrel spices pop.
Finish: Warm with wood spices, caramel, and vanilla fudge. Moderate in length.
Overall: I’m a big fan of the Evan Williams White Label. I put off trying it sooner because I was concerned it might not be worth the time. That goes to show you to never judge a whiskey by the shelf it sits on. This bottled in bond bourbon is full flavored, well balanced with spice and sweetness, and is extremely versatile. It’ll be a Pyle household staple from this point forward I can assure you (take a look at how much was out of the bottle I reviewed if that tells you anything). At this price point it’s tough to beat. Next time you are in your local whiskey shop, while everyone’s checking out the expensive stuff at eye level, bend down and grab this simple looking bottle of Evan Williams. If you love bourbon I don’t think you’ll be sorry you did.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 8.9 (Outstanding)

43 Comments

  1. Jeff Woodside says:

    Jason, my favorite “cheapo” is the Heaven Hill Old Style BIB (white label with green and black lettering). I found it in Lexington a couple months back, and only paid $11.99 for a quart! It is 6 years old, and tastes more like a $30/fifth bourbon. Try it, I’d like to hear your opinion of it. We seem to agree on so many others.

  2. Andrew says:

    Sounds like both the EW BiB and HH BiB are two good examples of inexpensive bourbons/whiskies worth stocking up on for regular consumption. Unfortunately, I have seen neither here on the shelves in this part of S FL over the years. For now, I will have to stick with my EW Black and EW Single Barrel which I do enjoy.

    BTW, if you go to the Heaven Hill web site you will be hard pressed to find information on either of these products. Should we be reading anything into this, Jason?

  3. Iskch1 says:

    Jason, I wonder if the E.W White label is the same as the Heaven Hill Old Style as listed by Jeff W. Both are B.I.B and both are made by Heaven Hill. I’ve seen the Heaven Hill Old Style B.I.B in the shelf but not the white label. I wonder if it is some kind of marketing strategy by Heaven Hill or what.

  4. Ethan Smith says:

    Over the past year, I’ve set out to try as many of the Heaven Hill BIB bourbons as I can. I’ve had the Old Heaven Hill (Gold label), the T.W. Samuels, the J.W. Dant, the J.T.S. Brown, and some Evan Williams BIB. The standouts are the Old Heaven Hill and the Evan Williams BIB. They are much “drier” and have a more grainy flavor than the Samuels, Dant, or Brown. The Brown is probably the most syrupy, followed by the Dant and then the Samuels. The interesting thing about all of these bourbons is that they are all the same mashbill. The only variables among them are going to be warehouse placement, barrel selection, and age. While they all seem to be 4-6 years old, the differences between them are pretty interesting.

  5. Vincent Falcone says:

    Hey Jason, been following your site for awhile now, love your reviews and you’ve really helped introduced me to some great bourbon (and rye!). This was one of the first bourbons I’ve ever had and quite frankly I think its nearly unbeatable at its price point (my local shop has it at 12.99 for the 1 liter!). I’ve heard its only a 4yr old whisky and while I can tell its young its still amazing how balanced it is. Curious if you have any thoughts on the Evan Williams 1783?

  6. Jeff Woodside says:

    Iskch1, I bought my bottle (it was a liter, not a quart) of the Old Style the same time as I picked up an A A Age 10 yr old, and the Old Style is both darker and has more oak on the finish than the AAA 10. Likely the same as the EW White Label, but just a year or two older, and maybe from a hotter part of the warehouse.

  7. I’m guessing this one is the same as the Old Style, but that’s only a guess. I have an email into Heaven Hill to determine for sure.

  8. Thanks Vincent. I have tried the 1783 – I enjoy them all. Heaven Hill doesn’t make much that’s bad by any means.

  9. Thanks Ethan for the comments – very good inisght.

  10. Jon says:

    Thanks for the review Jason. In our ABC stores in Alabama we seem to have very limited access to some of the bourbons you review so It is very refreshing to see a well thought out, thought provoking review of a budget friendly bourbon that I should be able to hunt down pretty easily in Alabama. Now all I need is a cheat sheet to take with me of your reviews.

  11. Paul Dray says:

    Jason, just out of interest what is the glass you are using in this video? Is it the Riedel Vinum Port glass? As much as I like the Glencairn glasses I do like a niced stemmed glass from time to time.
    Can’t seem to find Evan Williams BIB White label here in the UK. Shame as it sounds like another great value Bourbon.

  12. Jim Listerman says:

    Living in Cincinnati I have easy access to The Party Source (Newport Kentucky).
    Review has me inspired to stop this week to pick up Heaven Hill 100 Proof BIB White Label. Party Source stocks various Heaven Hill Bourbons: 1) HH Black Label 80 Proof; 2) HH Green Label 90 Proof; 3) HH Gold Label 100 Proof; 4) HH White Label 100 Proof.

  13. Paul, this glass is a Villeroy and Boch Scotch Whiskey glass. Wish it were smaller – the Vinum Port glass is one of my faves. A little better size than this.

  14. Thanks Jon – Cheat sheet coming soon!

  15. Jim, thanks for commenting and sharing this valuable info. Cheers!

  16. L C Woody says:

    I tried this last night along side a bottle of Old Pogue masters select bourbon that I had opened already. The EW White label was much smother and not as hot on the finish and just tasted better than the ($49) bottle of old pogue masters select bourbon.

  17. Randy Watson says:

    Great recommendation Jason. Great bourbon at a great price.

  18. Shawn says:

    Jason, glad to see your blog. I found this when I was trying to find a place around Nashville to pickup a bottle of White Label EW. Got a bottle this past weekend in Gatlinburg, at the urging of some locals in the liquor store. I have to say it was very enjoyable, but I was only left with a shot or 2, to compare with my regulars I keep in the cabinet. This afternoon I stopped at the big liquor store on the way out of downtown, looking for this offering, and did not find it. In fact, not sure I’ve seen it anywhere in the area, so I’m thinking it’s fairly new, or only carried at a few stores. Which store did you find this in, or if you can’t say that, then on which road did you find it?

  19. Storcke says:

    Jason,
    You are now my Guru of All-Things-Whiskey: generally, when you like something and I try it, I like it too. I thank you especially for George Dickel 12–I would never have tried it without your review, but it is now in my top three. But when I was finally able to cross the river from Alabama into Georgia and get some EW BIB and 1787, I was a little disappointed. I found the EWBIB thin on flavor and too strong on alcohol (I compare it to the GD12, but find the Dickel much more flavorful). But this didn’t bother me–you are usually more tolerant of higher proofs than I am. So I tried letting the glass air for 15 minutes after pouring, and the results are amazing. I love the lower proof. I still like the Dickel better, but the EWBIB is less than 1/2 the price ($18/handle!!!), which is a powerful draw for such a fine whiskey.
    Incidentally, I really love the rich, dark flavors and total lack of bitterness of the EW1783. How about a review?

  20. Alan says:

    Tried it a couple of weeks ago Jason upon your review. Great stuff! Got it for $11.49. Also, my Rittenhouse Rye is only $18.49. Two highly recommended whiskeys that you pointed me to. Thanks and keep up the great reviews Jason!

  21. Alan says:

    Just wish I could find AAA 10 yr old!

  22. Michael says:

    Can you say which is better? Evan Williams “White Label” Bottled in Bond Bourbon or the Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch Extra Aged?

  23. Storcke says:

    Jason and Michael, three months ago I acquired both EWBIB and EW1783 for the first time. Michael, they have completely different flavors, textures and proofs, so comparison is hard. At first my taste leaned sharply toward the rich, dark flavors of 1783 mainly because I just was not accustomed to 100 proof and was put off by the BIB’s alcohol overpowering the flavor. But I trusted Jason and stuck with it. I’ve now bought my second handle of EWBIB and I must say it’s one of the 4 or 5 I reach for most often. The proof doesn’t bother me at all now; in fact I’m finding the 1783 a little weak at 86 proof, and I’ve emailed HH that I love the flavors of 1783, but I wish they would offer it at a higher proof, even 100.
    A little bit of one man’s journey.

  24. Mike says:

    I live on the Redneck Riviera and have asked every liquour store within 100 miles to get in AAA 10 yr, EWBIB, Rittenhouse Rye, HH, Very Old Barton BIB, etc. You know, the value without too much compromise brands.

    They either can’t or won’t order them. Maybe a little of both, I know little of the liquor business. I did manage to find a bottle of Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel the other day and man is it wonderful, although it was on sale for $33.00. A bit more than I wanted to pay, but well worth it.

    Please explain why it’s so difficult to find things like AAA 10 yr in an area where every store has 10 star? Or why I can’t find EWBIB in a town where everyone carries the green label, black label, and 1783?

  25. Mike K says:

    Hi Jason, love your reviews. Very knowledgeable. Did you ever get a response from Heaven Hill to your email inquiring whether Evan Williams White label and Heaven Hill White label are the same?

  26. Jim Listerman says:

    Jason-

    Please check your bottle of Evan Williams White Label BIB 100 Proof.

    Does the bottle label state “Charcoal Filtered” ?

    Heaven Hill White Label 100 Proof BIB and Heaven Hill Green Label 90 Proof Bourbon bottles state “Charcoal Filtered”.

    Charcoal filtering could be the difference between Evan Williams Bourbon and Heaven Hill Bourbon(s).

  27. Jim Listerman says:

    Update —-> Jason did mention “Charcoal Filtered” printed on Evan Williams Bourbon 100 Proof BIB bottle (on video).

    Gut Feeling…….Same Bourbon.

    Label probably depends on retail sales area and distributors.

    Example: Kentucky retailers sell Heaven Hill BIB Bourbon. Tennessee retailers sell Evan Williams BIB Bourbon.

  28. I’m wondering if Jim Listerman is right – I’ve seen the EW BIB here in Memphis/Germantown but I’ve looked and not found any HH labels. (OK, there are a couple of stores that I haven’t checked yet.)

    Since the “reduction in force” I’m trying to stay on “value priced” bourbons until the next job is landed. Have you reviewed the “standard” EW anywhere – if so, I somehow missed it on your site.

  29. Jim Listerman says:

    Jim Sanders-

    Check local retailers……

    Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch

    Same “juice” as Evan Williams Single Barrel.

    TPS (Northern Kentucky) retails…….

    Evan Williams (Standard 7 Year) @ $10.49 (Plus 6% State & Local Taxes) 750ML

    Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch (10 Year) @ $10.99 (Plus Tax) 750ML

    Evan Williams Single Barrel (Retailing 2003 Vintage) @ $23.99 (Plus Tax) 750ML

    Heaven Hill White Label 100 Proof BIB (Charcoal Filtered) @ $10.50 (Plus Tax) 750ML

    Heaven Hill Green Label 90 Proof (Charcoal Filtered) @ $8.50 (Plus Tax) 750ML

    Great Selection Excellent Bourbon At Affordable Prices

    Jim Listerman
    Cincinnati, Ohio

  30. Dave says:

    Jason –
    Thanks for turning me on to this bourbon about six months ago through your review. It has since become one of my standout favorites… especially at the price.

    I thought it was interesting, when I was in Kentucky last fall I wanted t compare the local price on it vs. ours. The guy at the liquor store in Bardstown acted like I was crazy when I asked for Evan Williams “White” Label. He said he’s never seen it.

    Come to find out, they only distribute it in twelve states: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and
    Virginia.

    So I feel pretty lucky. The whole distribution thing is a mystery to me.

  31. Jim says:

    BAM !

    You Confirmed My Theory…….

    Same Bourbon Marketed With Two Names

    Evan Williams White Label BIB in Tennessee

    Heaven Hill White Label BIB in Kentucky

  32. Dave says:

    Jim – I leave super early tomorrow to go on a bourbon trail trip. I will ask around to see if I can confirm your theory. Makes sense, we can’t get Heaven Hill White label here.

  33. Jim says:

    Trade Name “Heaven Hill” used for many years prior to “Evan Williams”.

    Long standing relations with distributors and retailers (In “core” market states) lead to distillery continuing with full line of Heaven Hill Bourbons.

    Evan Williams Bourbon advertised while Heaven Hill Bourbon continues selling via self space and loyalty of existing customers.

  34. Storcke says:

    Dave, I can confirm that EW BIB is NOT sold in the tightly controlled state of Alabama. I have to cross into Georgia to find it. Alabama allows only EW Black and EW Green.
    And could someone please explain to me the logic behind such controls and restrictions? Private package stores are abundant, but they can sell only what the ABC stores sell. And it’s not like the restrictions discourage alcoholism–you can get all the blended whiskey you want for $7 a fifth, and gin and vodka even cheaper.

  35. Dave says:

    Storcke -

    Interesting. i was just going by what HH told me in an email.

    Well, I did pick up a bottle of HH White label, and it seems to be the same stuff. I haven’t done a side-by-side yet, but I will. I love the EW BIB so much though,, that when I tasted the HH BIB, I was almost sure it was the same.

  36. Jim says:

    ABC States…….

    ABC sets price for “approved” products to be sold retail within their respective state.

    My home state (Ohio) is ABC.

    Limited selection at Ohio retailers due to ABC.

    That’s why I cross the Ohio River to shop @ TPS (The Party Source).

    Kentucky retailers can stock and sell any and all “Adult Beverages” available.

  37. James says:

    Dave, EWBiB is definitely available in Kentucky…where it is produced…

  38. Ridge says:

    I really like the flavor of EWBIB – To me it is a Bourbon that is best if it gets about 10 min in the glass to mellow. I also find that you really have to look for the flavors – but if you do – it is nice.

    My gripes are mainly that it has an extremely thin mouthfeel – i also don’t know that it really benefits from the 100 proof. Most times i feel like the higher proof helps deliver a richer bourbon – in this instance – it is pretty thin and muted

    despite being muted – the flavor is excellent – it really just makes me want to go get a bottle of single barrel

  39. Joe Serapilio says:

    This just became available in New York State. I picked up 2 bottles ( liters $19 each ) Absolutly one of the best whiskey’s at this price I’ve had. Like Jason says, very well balanced & full flavored. If you like the Black lable as I do. You have got to try this. Simply amazing.

  40. Ray says:

    I have been to a couple of whiskey tastings that were hosted by or had Bernie Lubbers, Whiskey Ambassador for Heaven Hill, and he says when in a liquor store to look toward the bottom shelves. Usually that is where the BiB is and you get a great whiskey for a very good price. The bonus is you get more whiskey when it is 100 proof rather than 80 or 90. I am now all about BiB.

  41. Josh says:

    You can get it in Maryland as well.

  42. Brad says:

    Long time fan of your site first time post….Thanks for you insight and feedback on the wonders of bourbon. Your interview with Four Roses….outstanding!!!!

    Found this to be a very fine BIB at its price point $13 in Idaho wondered if you had any opportunity to try another BIB from Heaven Hills the Henry McKenna 10 yr. BIB would like to hear your feedback on what I feel is a wonderful single barrel BIB?

  43. Josh says:

    It’s starting to get into the market in New York City for around $20~$22 for a liter bottle. It delivers a bit more for the money than Old Grand Dad BIB, which is going for a higher tariff. Now if we could only get decent availability of Old Heaven Hill BIB we’d in great shape for high-value 100 proof whiskey up here.