Evan Williams was an early Kentucky Distiller. In the late 19th century. Reuben T. Durrett declared him “Kentucky’s First Distiller”. This should be taken with a grain of salt because Durrett, who was famous for making facts fit his view of history, wanted the first distiller in Kentucky to be a person from Louisville., thus he declared Evan Williams started distilling in 1783. However, there is a document in the Filson Historical Society’s collection that is Evan Williams receipt for his passage to America in 1784, a small fact that Durrett chose to ignore. 

The Evan Williams brand was created in the 1950s to honor “Kentucky’s First Distiller.” Heaven Hill acquired the brand shortly after it was created and it quickly became one of their flagship brands. They have created this small batch version of the Bourbon and I recently acquired a bottle. Matt and I sat down and tasted it and here are our notes.

Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch Bourbon

Proof: 90

Age: No Age Statement


  • Mike: Vanilla, apples, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and oak wood.
  • Matt: Caramel, marshmallows, dark fruit and oak wood.


  • Mike: Vanilla, apples, ginger and cinnamon spice, and oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and it enhances the cinnamon and brings out some blackberry fruit. Tasted with a pecan and the vanilla becomes caramel with a hint of milk chocolate.
  • Matt: Caramel and marshmallow with black pepper spice and oak wood. The dried cranberry enhanced the pepper and brought out wild berries flavors. The pecan added a peanut butter flavor.


  • Mike: Medium long with oak and spice. The dried cranberry added a lingering sweetness of wild berries. The pecan made the finish longer with lots of oak and spice with lingering caramel sweetness.
  • Matt: Medium long with black pepper, oak and tobacco. The cranberry shortened the finish. The pecan added a lingering note of fruit to the finish.

I would pair this fine Bourbon with a cigar that has rich vanilla and tobacco notes. I would reach for a NUB Habano wrapper cigar.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller