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Elijah Craig vs Evan Williams: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Elijah Craig vs Evan Williams in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Elijah Craig Small Batch

NoseWood, chocolate, cinnamon, clove
PalateChocolate, wood, butterscotch, citrus
FinishOak spice, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, vanilla
Alcohol content94 proof (47% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toMaker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Four Roses

Nose offers oak aroma at first, followed by a hint of chocolate, cinnamon and clove.

On the palate, you get oak spice up-front, with a hint of bitter chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla and a tad of citrus.

There is warmth on the finish as you get a hit of ethanol and a spicy bite rich in oak spice, cinnamon, black pepper and clove with some butterscotch sweetness coming late to the party.

Elijah Craig has a nice nose, a good taste but it lets you down on the finish as it feels warm and spicy.

It becomes better when adding a drop of water as it becomes sweeter and loses some of the heat along the peppery bite.

Elijah Craig is not a bad bourbon by any means, barely making it to the sipper category but definitely needs more persistence than the average bourbon in this price range.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Elijah Craig:

  • Elijah Craig is credited as the first distiller to use heavily charred casks to age bourbon.
  • It is made from a mash bill comprised of 78% corn, 10% rye and 12% malted barley. 
  • It is bottled by blending no less than 200 casks of maturing bourbon, each of which was rested in a Kentucky rickhouse for a minimum of 8 years.
  • This whiskey previously had an age statement of 12 years but in 2016 the age statement was removed to extend its availability.
  • The distiller also increased the maximum number of barrels used per batch from 100 to 200.

Evan Williams Bourbon

NoseCaramel, vanilla, honey, ethanol
PalateHoney, spice, old leather, oak char
FinishOld leather, oak char, lingering spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toEarly Times, Rebel Yell, Four Roses

The nose is sweet, with notes of honey, caramel, vanilla and just a whiff of ethanol.

On the palate, the Evan Williams has a decent body as it has some texture. Flavor is sweet at first, with a hint of old leather although it has some oak char bitterness, but nothing too severe.

The finish has more of that old leather hint, is bitey and warm, with lingering spicy notes.

Adding a dash of water makes it better as you get a bit more of caramel sweetness while removing some of the hard edges.

Evan Williams will never win an award, this a basic offering, a little rough around the edges when compared to fine bourbons.

But not a bad whiskey and it won’t break the bank. The low price point makes it a good choice for the person that is not picky and just wants to have nightly pour without spending much.

The Evan Williams is a bourbon to keep at hand as it has the warmth you want to make tasty whiskey cocktails on the cheap or when in the mood for something unique like mixing with Red Bull.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Evan Williams Black Label:

  • The mash bill is made from 78% corn, 12% malted barley, and 10% rye.
  • Evan Williams carried an age statement of 7 years until the 90s when it was removed. Now is aged for just 4 years.
  • Evan Williams was born in the UK and emigrated to the United States towards the end of the 18th century. Williams settled in Kentucky and began distilling in 1783, in what is now Louisville.

What do Elijah Craig and Evan Williams have in common?

Both are crafted at the same distillery using the same mash bill

  • Elijah Craig and Evan Williams are produced at the Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown; KY along the Henry McKenna, Rittenhouse Rye, Larceny, Old Fitzgerald, Pikesville among others.
  • These bourbons are made using the same mash bill comprised of 78% corn, 12% malted barley, 10% rye.

Are Elijah Craig and Evan Williams the same bourbon?

Barrel management and proof makes them different

  • Evan Williams is aged for 4 years while the Elijah Craig blends bourbons aged for 8 to 12 years using highly charred barrels.
  • Evan Williams is bottled at 90 proof while the Elijah Craig at 94 proof. This means that the Elijah Craig suffered less water dilution before bottling providing more body to the bourbon.

Elijah Craig vs Evan Williams: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Elijah Craig$25
Evan Williams$11

Elijah Craig vs Evan Williams: Which is better?

Elijah Craig is slightly better than the Evan Williams

WhiskeyElijah CraigEvan Williams
  • The extended aging removed some of the hard edges making the Elijah Craig easier to drink than the Evan Williams, although it’s still warm and not the smoothest bourbon.
  • The Evan Williams is a better option when looking for a budget bourbon to make cocktails, or having at home on your next bash or when tailgating.

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