Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Heaven Hill
Distillery: Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
Release Date: June 2023
Age: NAS (Aged at least 4 year per TTB regulations)
Mashbill: Unspecified blend of two mashbills:
74% Corn, 16% Wheat, 10% Malted Barley
68% Corn, 20% Wheat, 12% Malted Barley
MSRP: $90 (2023)
Grain-forward | Baking spices | Pretzel dough | Carmel | Youthful
Caramel chews | Brown sugar | Vanilla custard | Light grain note | Very sweet
Underlying sweetness persists | Allspice | Toasted oak | Frosted Flakes cereal
A fun concept and snapshot in time, but not representative of what Heaven Hill is capable of.
The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience opened in November of 2013 by turning on their still and starting their small-scale distilling operation. The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience artisan still in downtown Louisville, Kentucky produces only one barrel of American Whiskey per day. They have released three whiskeys so far - High-Rye Bourbon, High-Rye Rye, and this latest release, Wheated Bourbon. According to the company’s press release, the first two were bottled at a lower 95 proof, with Wheated Bourbon bottled at 105 proof. Additionally, the first two releases utilized only one mashbill, while Wheated Bourbon is a blend of two mashbills.
The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is one of the must-see downtown Kentucky distilleries to visit, and the fact that Heaven Hill has tied in this level of small-scale artisanal distilling is a commendable approach. Unfortunately, while I would love to recommend Square 6 Wheated Bourbon on its own accord, it just doesn’t have the same qualities as the whiskeys Heaven Hill is distilling elsewhere. Grain is up front and ever-present on the nose, which permeates throughout the sip and provides a youthful note that is akin to startup craft distillers. It’s joined by an array of additional flavors and is very sweet overall, however, it never quite gets away from its seemingly youthful underpinnings.
What’s surprising is the whiskey is not nearly as young as you might expect. Distilling only one barrel worth of whiskey per day, highlights the learning curve necessary to get a handle on this particular still, and the time it takes to bring a bourbon from start to finish (keep in mind the components used to make this blend may have been distilled during some of the distillery’s earlier years). Overall I love the concept, and would suggest buying a bottle only to commemorate the experience or to solidify a snapshot in time, but the whiskey itself just doesn’t come close to what Heaven Hill is otherwise capable of.