Evan William’s Single Barrel v Eagle Rare 10 year SB: The Battle Rages

This battle pits Evan Williams Single Barrel against Eagle Rare 10 year Single Barrel.  The Evan Williams is aged about 9 years and is 86.6 proof, and the Eagle Rare is a 10 year old, and weighs in at 90 proof.  I wasn’t very excited about this match up to begin with, and now I know why.  Whie they are evenly matched, they are underwhelming.  That said, I had to drink them, so you have to read about it!  I guess I’m being a little over critical, but I have had some fantastic single barrel bourbons so far, and this match up was definitely a step down from what I’ve tried to date.

I started with the Evan Williams, which I’ve had before, and to be honest it was better than I remembered.  It had a medium to heavy mouthfeel with lots of legs on the glass.  It also had a very fruity flavor like pear and cherry.  This was reflected in the nose as well.  The finish was short and only lasted about 15 seconds.  And easy drinker to be sure, but nothing that will set the world on fire.

The Eagle Rare 10 lived up to its reputation that preceded it.  It was weak.  Kind of like bourbon for babies.  I expected this to come with its own sippy cup attached to the neck.  It was like bourbon flavored koolaid.  It had no body at all, very watery.  It had only a slight oakiness to it which was surprising for it having been barreled for 10 years, and it had no finish at all.  Very little burn and after it passed over your tongue all trace of it was gone.  It was like you never even took a drink of bourbon.

So hands down the winner of this round was the Evan Williams, but I don’t hold out a lot of hope for it to make it any further.  This match up was like the Cleveland Browns versus the Carolina Panthers, I guess someone has to win, but the real loser is the viewer.   For those of you keeping score here is what the bracket looks like now:

Next round will be Wathen’s versus Knob Creek SB Reserve.  I hope for much better things then!


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13 Comments on “Evan William’s Single Barrel v Eagle Rare 10 year SB: The Battle Rages”

  1. August 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Sometimes we taste more or newer things when we return to something after developing our taste buds and awareness. It’s always interesting to me to try something (beer, wine, whiskey, whatever) after the last couple of years of closely monitoring everything I pour down my gullet. For example, I had all but given up on red wine as my beer enthusiasm grew. However, there were several instances on a trip to Spain where the wine was the way better option. Although I still prefer craft beer to wine, I tasted the wine differently than I had before. I’ll be interested to see how this whole thing pans out.

    • johnking82
      August 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

      I agree I had Sierra Nevada Celebration as one of my first craft beers and hated it. Had it again 5 years later and loved it. Stupid hops.

      • Don
        August 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

        I loved the celebration the first time I had it, just didn’t really understand what made it holiday beer? Still don’t, but I still love it and look forward to it every year.

    • Don
      August 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

      It definitely is. I think the things that you are currently drinking also impacts your impressions of something new. Back then I was drinking a lot of high ABV whiskeys that really had a lot of flavor and mouthfeel, etc. Now, I drink fewer whiskeys, so I am perhaps tasting things better now as I concentrate on the whiskey’s flavor and other qualities. I too am interested to see how it all finishes up.

  2. FatCatKC
    August 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Glad I didn’t buy the Eagle Rare the other day. The Knob Creek coming up is definately not weak so it will be a nice change of pace. Observe and report my friend.

    @johnking82 – I was very suprised that I liked the SN Celebration this year. Very tasty!

  3. Bryan
    August 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Ouch! Bourbon for babies…sippy cup…
    Haven’t been on bourbon much lately. But when I grab my next bottle, I’ll be a bit more adventurous!

    • Don
      August 16, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

      Yeah Bryan….My apologies to lover’s of the Eagle Rare, but it just didn’t do it for me.

  4. August 16, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    Unfortunately, the Eagle Rare of today isn’t even a shadow of what it was 10 or 15 years ago. I’m interested in your KC/Wathens tasting….once that’s done, I’ll let you in on a little rumor. I recently completed a semi-blind tasting of 12 years of Evan Williams Single Barrel. The consensus among all participants was that it’s simply average. In fact, a full 2/3 of the selections were rated average. Only one year, the 1995 rated above average. I thought it was just me that thought the EWSB were just ok, but 12 other participants confirmed what my palate was telling me.

    • Don
      August 17, 2011 at 8:31 am #

      Make that 13 Greg! I have to agree that the EW is just average. I don’t hold any hope for it to go any further in the competition. But who knows, maybe I’ll be overly generous towards it next time. No accounting for my crazy palate!

    • Don
      August 17, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      You know Greg, you bring up a good point. Why is the Eagle Rare as bad as it is? It is aged 10 years, it is 90 proof, it has all the makings of a really good whiskey. Strange how it went down hill so quickly. What might account for that? Change in Mashbill? Pulling the barrels from a different area of the rickhouse?

  5. August 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    I’d buy a bottle of Eagle Rare before a Bottle of Angels Envy!

    • Don
      August 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      You’re never gonna get over that are you John? Oh well, I like it, and I’d but 100 Angel’s Envy’s before I buy another Eagle Rare 10!

  6. User24
    May 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    Thr under $30 SB are not controlled that tightly, leading to great variation. In addition, the exceptional quality bottles are few in number, otherwise they would have enough product to spin off a higher priced line. I’ve had 2 or 3 exceptional eagle rare SB 10 bottles out of the last 15 I bought. Some were downright weak. The exceptional quality bottles are known by the tremendous vanilla smells and thick oily mouthfeel.

    Therefore I go with knob creek single barrel, as the slightly higher price allows tighter quality control.

    Anything in the $20 range that is single barrell, can’t make generalizations off of just by one or two bottles.

    I cant imagine how different eagle rare might have been 10 years ago.

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