1980s Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon review
BJ Evans 10 Year Bourbon
BJ Evan 10 Year Bourbon Details
Distillery: Not disclosed (likely Heaven Hill)
Type & Region: Bourbon, USA
Composition: Not disclosed, may be 78% corn, 10% rye, 12% barley
Aged: 10 years
Color: 1.4/2.0 on the color scale (tawny)
Price: $50 (purchased in Japan)
bj evans 10 year bourbon overview
Internet sleuthing didn’t reveal much information either besides auction prices (I got a good deal), so this bottle and brand are shrouded in mystery. Most of the information on the labels are marketing BS anyways, trying to sell some nonexistent heritage (since 1790…come on). Then again, this still happens frequently today.
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bj evans 10 year bourbon smell
My first sniff of BJ Evans 10 Year just blasts ripe apricot, cherry, honey, date, plum, and a little ripe fruit funk into my nose followed by vanilla, licorice, and some background oak and cinnamon. It’s surprising how fruity it is, because most bourbon nowadays isn’t like this.
It kind of smells like opening a bag of dried fruit and having all the scents rush out. Surprisingly, there isn’t as much roasted oak or spice as a 10 year old bourbon might have, instead it’s very dark fruit dominant. It’s an excellent first smell, and with minimal heat as well.
BJ Evans 10 Year smells about the same after swirling, and by that I mean awesome. If anything, now I get a little more of this gushers-like candied fruit, but still with that slightly funky and nutty preserved dark grape, date, and prune, and soft / round / pillow-y marshmallow.
It’s reminiscent of oloroso sherry, but not quite as intensely (some say overpowering) sweet and rich. The dense fruitiness is unique too, lacking in most unfinished bourbons today.
bj evans 10 year bourbon taste and aftertaste
BJ Evans 10 Year leads with honey, cherry, date, plum, raisin, vanilla, roasted oak, cinnamon, something kind of funky, and cinnamon bun. Now the roasted oak and oak spices appear, but overall is led by the dark fruit. For better or worse, the flavors are thinner than the scents, but overall still taste great and are far from watery.
Now that I think about it, I usually find that preserved and more dense apricot, dark fruit, and vanilla funk in wine finished bourbons such as Joseph Magnus Bourbon and Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend. This level of fruitiness is rare in unfinished bourbon these days.
It may not be a powerhouse like Elijah Craig Barrel Proof or Evan Williams 12 Year, but BJ Evan 10 Year still brings plenty of fruity variety and depth to keep me interested and engaged.
BJ Evans 10 Year Bourbon Rating
I got this unknown bourbon on a whim hoping it was good (not all old bourbon is good), and thankfully it delivered on my gamble in the most surprising way. I absolutely got my money’s worth and more.
BJ Evans 10 Year smells like oloroso sherry and tastes like a roasted cinnamon bun with ripe dark fruit and drizzled frosting. I don’t know if it’s a dusty Heaven Hill thing, but this is a brand new Heaven Hill experience for me that also reminds me of old Blanton’s Red. The ABV is not ideal though, because it probably would have been spectacular at 101 proof.
Releases these days tend to be far more caramel, vanilla, oak, and spice forward. The older (11-12 years) Elijah Craig Single Barrels at 47% ABV that I’ve had are also far less fruity and viscous, so who knows what led to BJ Evans being the way it is. It’s also possible that these barrels were off-profile (meaning not what Heaven Hill wanted for their products).
I’m constantly surprised how fruity some of these dusty bourbons are, even including old Old Forester, because I haven’t found many modern unfinished bourbons that are the same way. The only modern ones I can think of are Widow Jane 12 Year Single Barrel (it was shockingly very fruity) and possibly EH Taylor Barrel Proof.
Meet the Author: Alex
I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.
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