Google “best cheap bourbons” and you’re unlikely to find Evan Williams White Label taking a spot in the highest ranking search results. A bottled-in-bond Kentucky straight bourbon for $15? Seems like a no-brainer. Yet, outside of enthusiast circles it’s seldom celebrated.
Pour: Evan Williams White Label (Bottled in Bond)
Age: at least 4 years
Nose: vanilla, fresh-cut corn, grainy spice
Taste: caramel candy, nutty oak, confectioners sugar
Finish: moderate length w/ light toffee, nutmeg, hints of oak char
Overall: If you’re expecting hype, you’ve come to the wrong place. Evan Williams White Label tastes exactly as it should – like 4-year, 100-proof bourbon. It’s not great. It’s not underrated. It’s precisely where it belongs – a stalwart of the bottom shelf.
Rating: Budget buy.
Of all the Evan Williams expressions, the 80-proof “green label” is as bottom-shelf as bottom-shelf bourbon gets. Strangely, it’s priced about the same as the spec-superior Evan Williams Black Label. Maybe they’re complementary to one another? I doubt it, but here goes anyway.
Pour: Evan Williams Green Label
Age: 36 months
Color: light amber
Nose: buttered corn, vanilla, confectioners sugar
Taste: brownie batter, plywood, salty dough
Finish: short – fresh-cut oak, grain, college
Overall: Not very good at all. That being said, it’s not near as cheerless as Benchmark “Old No. 8.” (At least there’s no repulsive sour notes.) Evan Williams Green Label is drinkable, albeit barely, and best suited as a backyard burger marinade.
Rating: Safe for cooking.
When it comes to recognizable whiskey names, Evan Williams shares a stage with Jack Daniel and Jim Beam. The affordable “black label” is the brand’s flagship offering. Often overlooked by eager whiskey enthusiasts, many long-timers consider it a “Swiss Army Knife” bourbon.
Pour: Evan Williams Black Label
Age: at least 4 years
Nose: vanilla, buttered popcorn, whole grain bread
Taste: caramel drizzle, honey syrup, Golden Delicious apple
Finish: moderately short – confectioners sugar, mild oak & spice
Overall: As simplistic as Evan Williams may be, it’s simplicity proper. This is easy-sipping, no frills, no horseshit Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. It’s no Wild Turkey 101, but it pummels Benchmark and puts a fair shiner on Jim Beam White Label.
Rating: Worth admission.