Here today we have the flagship of the Heaven Hill whiskey line. Last I checked, I believe this is the third best selling American whiskey in the world behind Jim Beam and Jack Daniel's. I like the Bottled in Bond variant of this which is also no age statement but comes in at 100 proof. While the proof on that one is nice, it definitely drinks like a barely no age statement bourbon in that it tastes right at 4 years old with a good bit of corn / grain forward mash notes. I've can't recall the last time I had regular Evan Williams though and even if I could I've never had much of it so I'm going in with a blank slate here.
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey; No Age Statement; 43% ABV; $7 (375ml)
Nose: Yep, smells like bourbon. A lot of sweet wood sugary notes and a good amount of oak. It's got a fair bit more wood depth than I expected as the young grainy notes are there but minor.
Taste: A lot more of the nose. It's mostly all sweet and wood. Upfront it's sugary caramel which transitions to a darker burnt sugars like creme brulee in the finish. There are hints of a nutty note like peanut brittle which is something I am getting more and more often in Heaven Hill products these days. Again there's quite a bit more wood influence than I expected which is doing well to keep any young corn grain mash notes at bay. It's as easy to drink as you'd expect for 86 proof though I wouldn't say it's watery.
Thoughts: This is better than I expected. It certainly runs circles around Beam and Jack as it has a lot more depth than those. I went in guessing this was barely four years old but going off profile here I'd guess it's more like 6-7. In a similar comparison, I consider Maker's Mark the baseline of an average drinkable bourbon and this is better than that too. If I had to nitpick, it is pretty much a two trick pony of sweet and wood with not much else and the proof is holding it back. Overall, it's a nice, classic bourbon that comes in at a great price and would be a great choice as a house bourbon to share with company.
Rating: C+ / C
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.