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Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof Review: A Friendly Tasting Guide

thewhiskylady - 2023-07-11
A Friendly Guide to Exceptional Whiskey
Sam Houston 15 Year Bourbon Review
Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof Review

As a whiskey enthusiast that I am, I tried Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof bourbon. This straight bourbon, produced by the Old Evan Williams Distillery, which is part of Heaven Hill, has gained quite a reputation among connoisseurs. With its rich history and unique taste profile, it has sparked my curiosity and excitement.

Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof Reviewphoto credit:

The 12-year aging process and 101 proof of this Evan Williams expression not only make it a highly regarded whiskey but also give it a distinct character compared to its younger siblings. Color-wise, it presents a dark caramel hue while the nose reveals a delightful mix of aromas, such as caramel, vanilla frosting, baked apple, and dried cherry. On the palate, it carries delicious notes of roasted oak, fennel, coffee grounds, cinnamon red hots, and cocoa powder.

Though its availability has been somewhat limited in the US, with a strong focus on the international market – particularly in Japan, Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof is increasingly gaining attention among whiskey enthusiasts stateside. This bourbon surely brings a memorable tasting experience and a certain depth that will resonate with anyone who appreciates fine whiskey.

Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof Overview

Product History

Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof Overviewphoto credit:

I have come across this delightful bourbon known as Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof. This bourbon is produced by Heaven Hill Distillery, located in Kentucky, USA. It has a composition of 78% corn, 10% rye, and 12% barley, making it a classic American bourbon. Originally, this 12-year-old, 101 proof gem was only available in the Japanese market but has recently become accessible at the Heaven Hill Distillery gift shop in Louisville, Kentucky.

Price Range

In terms of its price range, I’ve found that the Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof Bourbon can vary significantly. While in Japan, you can find it for around $30-45, if you happen to be at the distillery in Kentucky, you may expect a price tag of $150 or more. So keep that in mind when planning to indulge in this exceptional spirit.

Tasting Notes


The first thing that struck me was the enticing aroma coming from the Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof. As I swirl the bourbon in my glass, I’m embraced by a beautiful mixture of sweet caramel, oak, honey, and brown sugar. There’s a faint hint of cinnamon and rye spice that’s tickling my nose, promising a rich and complex flavor experience.


Taking my first sip, I’m greeted by a pleasant warmth that fills my mouth with sweet caramel and dark caramel flavors. As I savor the taste, the rye spice kicks in, followed by notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and a touch of clove. The nuttiness and hints of tobacco seem to add an extra layer of sophistication to the flavors. There’s even a subtle milk chocolate undertone that completes the palatable ensemble.


The Evan Williams 12-Year Bourbon offers a medium-long finish that leaves a satisfying warmth in the chest and a lingering sweetness on the palate. The honey, vanilla, and rye spice continue to dance on the tongue, with the oak and cinnamon making their final encore.


In my opinion, Evan Williams 12-Year 101 Proof Bourbon is a fantastic and enjoyable bourbon. I’d give it a strong 8.5/10. The rich and deep flavors are beautifully balanced, making it an excellent choice for those who appreciate a well-aged bourbon with a memorable finish.

Mixing and Pairing

Best Mixers

As a fan of Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof, I find that it pairs well with a variety of mixers. Its complex flavor profile lends itself nicely to both classic and creative concoctions. Some of the best mixers to try with this bourbon include:

  • Ginger ale: Adds a refreshing, spicy kick
  • Orange juice: Complements the bourbon’s subtle fruit notes
  • Club soda: Allows the bourbon’s flavors to shine through

Cocktail Suggestions

Cocktail Suggestionsphoto credit:

When it comes to cocktails, the Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof is quite versatile. I’d like to recommend a few of my favorite recipes that highlight the bourbon’s unique qualities:

Old Fashioned:

  • 2 oz Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 orange peel
  • A splash of water

Muddle the sugar, bitters, and water in a glass. Add ice and bourbon, stirring well to combine. Garnish with an orange peel.

Whiskey Sour:

  • 2 oz Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • 1 cherry and orange slice for garnish

Combine bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white (if using) in a shaker with ice. Shake well, then strain into an Old Fashioned glass with ice. Garnish with a cherry and orange slice.

Food Pairings

Chocolate Mousse Triflephoto credit:

The rich flavors of the Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof make it a great companion for various dishes. Here are some food pairing ideas that I believe complement the bourbon nicely:

  • Grilled meats: The bourbon’s bold flavor can stand up to the smokiness and char of grilled steak, pork chops, or ribs.
  • Sharp cheeses: A cheese board with aged cheddar or Gouda creates a delicious contrast to the bourbon’s sweetness and spice.
  • Chocolate desserts: The deep caramel and vanilla notes of the bourbon work well with rich chocolate cakes or truffles.


Having the opportunity to taste the Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof bourbon has been a delightful experience. When comparing it to other bourbons, such as Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, it holds its own quite well.

I found that using a Glencairn glass allowed the whiskey’s aromas to really open up, offering me pleasant notes of brown sugar, oak, honey, and caramel. The taste didn’t disappoint either, with its perfect blend of pepper, rye, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and sweet caramel. The finish stayed true to the palate, delivering rye, cinnamon, honey, and oak flavors that lingered delightfully.

Visiting the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience was an added bonus, as it offered me the chance to learn more about this delicious bourbon and the history behind it. While the price point might be higher than some other options, I believe the unique taste of the Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof justifies the investment.

However, at 101 proof, it should be noted that the higher ABV does bring a bit of a kick, which for some people may be slightly overwhelming. If you’re a fan of bourbon, I would still highly recommend giving this Evan Williams 12 Year a try as it delivers exceptional quality and complexity worth exploring.

The Evan Williams 12 Year 101 Proof bourbon stands out with its rich and inviting flavors, providing bourbon enthusiasts with a unique and memorable experience.

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