Eight years ago, Heaven Hill opened the Evan Williams Experience, a small artisan distillery on Main Street in Louisville. I love the fact that Heaven Hill has chosen to call this location an “artisan distillery” and not a “craft distillery”. Distilling is a craft and all distilleries are craft distilleries. An artisan distillery is a smaller distillery that does not focus on volume of whiskey produced, but upon the art of distilling. That is exactly what Heaven Hill has chosen to do in downtown Louisville with their artisan distillery on Main Street.
Eight years ago, Charlie Downs became the distiller at the newly opened Evan Williams Experience with a promise to make a barrel a day of whiskey and to experiment with mash bills and barrel entry proofs. Charlie Downs retired a few years ago and his successor, Jodie Filiatreau, took over and is as enthusiastic and passionate as Charlie Downs about making whiskey and experimentation. Filiatreau has led the team in designing and releasing the new Square 6 package. I am not going to say Bourbon package because this is the label that Heaven Hill plans to use for all of their releases of whiskeys made at the Evan Williams Experience. The next release could be another Bourbon, but it could be a rye or even a malt whiskey.
Square 6 comes from the land maps of Louisville from the 19th century. Heaven Hill has provided a parchment section of map reproduced, I am sure, from the Commonwealth Land title maps at the Filson. I feel confident that this is the case, because I cataloged the Commonwealth Land Title maps when I worked at the Filson Historical Society and recognized the drawing. Square 6 is labeled as the location of the Evan Williams Distillery. A small section of this map is reproduced on the label. The whiskey is the first to be released of the products made at the Evan Williams Experience and is a high rye Bourbon of five years old. The mash bill is 52% corn, 35% rye and 13% malted barley. It is a small batch Bourbon of a 15 barrel dump. It has been bottled at 95 proof.
Square 6 by Evan Williams
Age: No Age Statement, but Filiatreau states it was 15 barrels of five year old Bourbon
- Mike: Very fruity nose – prunes and raisins, with some baking spices – cardamon and cinnamon, a little vanilla and caramel with pipe tobacco and oak wood.
- Matt: A lot of corn – buttered corn, floral notes – maybe honeysuckle, and a hint of vanilla.
- Mike: Very fruity – very brandy-like, with prunes and raisin with a little raspberry, with some baking spices – cardamom and nutmeg, tobacco and oak but not a tannic oak. Tasted with a died cranberry and the flavor becomes even fruitier with tart berries and vanilla. Tasted with a pecan and a candy cherry notes comes forward.
- Matt: Sweet like caramel corn – Cracker Jacks, with some vanilla, a little heat that could be cinnamon. With the dried cranberry more fruits – citrus and cherries come forward. The honeysuckle and vanilla are enhanced. The pecan brought out sweet, buttery pancake notes.
- Mike: Long and dry with sweet oak and tobacco. The dried cranberry made it sweeter with lingering fruit notes complimenting the oak and tobacco. The pecan made the finish drier with lots of oak and my first hint of white pepper.
- Matt: A shorter finish with leather and oak and lingering cinnamon. The cranberry made the finish spicier with notes of nutmeg and oak. The pecan lessens the spice but enhances the oak and leather.
I would pair this fine Bourbon with a spicy cigar such as a Fuente Opus X with its cedar spice smoke and hints of vanilla.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller